I know it will come as no surprise to you that in June Operation Gratitude made an impact on tens of thousands of our nation’s heroes and continued to build momentum in communities across America.
More volunteers are joining our ranks each day and people are asking how they can get more involved as we reemerge from COVID and prepare for Christmas in July and the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Over the past eight days I visited four cities. From Denver, Seattle, and our HQ in Los Angeles last week to Minneapolis yesterday, everyone I encountered is eager to get back to work with Operation Gratitude.
Without exception, at every meeting I had, leaders representing foundations, volunteer groups, and local chambers of commerce commented, “Operation Gratitude is everywhere.” And they want us to come to their cities, too.
They marveled at our unprecedented impact during a global pandemic saying, “You truly made a difference everywhere!” One of the most influential business leaders in the country shared how much he appreciated the work we were doing to build bridges between civilians and our military, veterans, and first responders.
Since our last Assembly Day at the FOB 17 months ago on February 29, 2020, we have overcome adversity and impacted 760,000 deployed troops, National Guardsmen, veterans, and frontline responders with our actions. And we did that without bringing large groups of volunteers together.
We showed that anything is possible when we join forces (even virtually) as a country. We proved the mettle and resilience of grateful Americans who found creative ways to give back so we could continue our mission.
I saw that firsthand when I walked through the FOB with our team last Friday. In addition to having more than one million individual items staged and poised in five separate shipments for destinations around the globe, our warehouse is filled with even more items, especially Handmade with Love scarves, paracord bracelets, and handwritten letters, waiting to be packaged and delivered to the men and women who bravely serve our nation in a variety of ways.
Now, in the coming weeks, they will be put to good use to make an extraordinary impact. Operation Gratitude will be everywhere yet again, leading a reemergence of hands-on, in-person volunteer opportunities across the country.
If you are in or near Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston, there are OG Assembly Days for you to participate in as we celebrate Christmas in July and commemorate 9/11 with a National Day of Service. Details for our upcoming events will be published as we get closer to those dates.
For those of you who are not in one of those cities, why not organize your own volunteer activity with a community-based organization that you are a part of? You can help us make an even bigger impact everywhere.
If you are interested in bringing your community together in service, expressing appreciation, and building bridges with your local military, veterans, and first responders, email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we’ll continue to show the world that OG is everywhere!