Continuing the fast pace of last weekend’s Patriotic Drive opening, Operation Gratitude’s
tireless volunteers, joined by senior Military officials and special guests,
will prepare and ship thousands of additional care packages to U.S. Troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and on ships at sea over the Memorial Weekend, May 24-25, 2008.
In observance of Memorial Day on Saturday May 24, the organization will pay tribute to our troops with a screening of the documentary “Warriors…in their own Words” trailer. On the same day, Operation Gratitude will celebrate two Milestone Events: The 10th Care Package Drive and the shipment of its 350,000th Care Package.
“In just 5 years, during 10 care package drives, Operation Gratitude has sent more personalized care packages than any other Military Support Organization in history,” exclaimed Charlie Othold, Director of Operations. “This accomplishment is a tribute to the dedicated volunteers and donors who have given so generously in time, effort, funds and product,” he continued.In an emotional ceremony on May 18, Othold, a Vietnam Veteran who served 20 years in the Air Force, and has been a contractor for Lockheed Martin for 20+ years, was awarded the Department of the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service
. In presenting the medal, Major General William Wade, The Adjutant General of the State of California, noted Othold’s exemplary humanitarian and volunteer service as Operation Gratitude’s Director of Operations, and praised Othold’s management skills and personal efforts that enabled the production and shipment of 350,000 care packages to service members deployed overseas.
“All of us at Operation Gratitude are thrilled that Charlie has been recognized in this very meaningful way,” said Carolyn Blashek, the organization’s founder. “Not only does he brilliantly organize and execute the entire operation, but he does so with complete calm, patience and good humor,” she continued. Joan Rimmon, a long-time Volunteer Supervisor added: “We are blessed to have him running the show!”
All 70 of the Volunteer Supervisors were presented the “President’s Volunteer Service Award” during a special ceremony on May 17. Blashek promised additional volunteer and donor recognition during the May 24th Memorial Day program.
WHAT: Operation Gratitude 2008 Patriotic Drive
WHEN: May 24-25: Assembly of Packages
9am-4pm Daily; Lunch 12-1pm
May 24 at 11:30am: Tribute to Warriors
10th Care Package Drive Celebration
Recognition of Volunteers and Corporate Donors
WHERE: California Army National Guard Armory
17330 Victory Boulevard
Corporate Donors, media and press are invited to all events and lunch. Parking available on premises.
Volunteers 12 years and older are welcome to participate at the Armory.
Financial Donations and Personal Letters can be mailed year-round to:
16444 Refugio Road
Encino, CA 91436