|Operation Gratitude Delivers 300,000th Care Package
Operation Gratitude founder, Carolyn Blashek, and Director of Operations, Charlie Othold, traveled 9,000 miles to surprise an unknowing Soldier with the keys to a 2008 Jeep(R) Liberty at Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Iraq on January 22. The gift of the Liberty was in celebration of Operation Gratitude’s shipment of 300,000 care packages to troops deployed overseas.
Spc. Michael Gallagher, of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Washington, was the recipient of Operation Gratitude’s special care package.
The Jeep(R) was donated by the Jeep brand. In a letter addressed to an “American Hero”, John Plecha, Director -Jeep Marketing and Global Communications, said it was an honor to do something special for both a great organization and for the troops in
“As the recipient of the 300,000th Operation Gratitude care package, the Jeep brand is delighted to award you a Jeep vehicle of your own as a symbol of our appreciation, as you represent all those who bravely go in harm’s way in service to our country,” Plecha’s letter continued.
“When my commander ordered me to show up to this ceremony, I thought it was just another care package and they were making a big deal about it because it was the 300,000th one,” said Gallagher. “When I opened up the envelope, (containing the keys to the Jeep inside) it completely blew my mind.”
The care package contained various other gifts from U.S. citizens and companies that generously support Operation Gratitude, including letters from local schools, the 700,000th donated packet of Emergen-C Drink Mix, an autographed copy of Lt. General Hal Moore’s “A General’s Spiritual Journey,” and four cigars from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I would like to thank Operation Gratitude so much for supporting the troops and providing an opportunity to show that people actually care,” Gallagher said. “I am very grateful for the time and effort that people, whom we don’t even know, put forth to make all this happen for us,” he continued.
Gallagher, a vehicle commander, will receive his new Jeep Liberty upon returning to the U.S. later this year. He plans on having a mural painted on the hood of the Liberty in tribute to the fallen heroes from his company.
|“It was an enourmous honor and privilege to personally deliver this 300,000th care package on behalf of Operation Gratitude’s thousands of supporters,” exclaimed Carolyn Blashek. “I am so grateful to Major General Mark P. Hertling for the opportunity to deliver not only the package but the respect, gratitude and love from each and every one of our volunteers and sponsors” she continued.
For more pictures, check the Operation Gratitude Photo Gallery: 300,000 Package