After 9-11, founder Carolyn Blashek began volunteering at the Los Angeles airport military lounge. In March 2003, a soldier came into the office and broke down at her desk. He was on leave from a war zone for his mother’s funeral, his wife had left him, and his only child had died as an infant—he had no one else in his life. It was then he told her,
“I’m going back over there. I know I won’t make it back this time, but it really doesn’t matter because no one would even care.”
Right then, Blashek realized that when bullets are flying, troops must believe that someone at home cares about them as an individual.
That's when operation gratitude was born.
While this grassroots movement started in Blashek’s living room, it now encompasses Americans all over the country donating items and writing letters to express their gratitude for all who serve.