OPERATION GRATITUDE BLOG: SAYING “THANK YOU” TO ALL WHO SERVE
The Every Day is a Day On series spotlights volunteers at Operation Gratitude who go above and beyond to support servicemen and women, their families, and first responders.
Our series begins with two sisters–Mary Ausloos of New Mexico and Mona Wolverton of Colorado–volunteers whose focus with Operation Gratitude has been the handmade card program and spreading holiday cheer through their cards.
These past few days have been difficult for me as the CEO of a nonprofit that brings Americans from all walks of life together and bridges divides through a common bond of service, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide.
Much like the challenges our nation faced last year as a result of COVID and the divides caused by racial injustice, I have struggled to find the right words to express what Operation Gratitude can and must do to help our country and our communities heal.
In January 1991, I sat in the desert of Saudi Arabia deployed with 2nd Battalion 10th Marines from Camp LeJeune NC for the Gulf War. As a young Second Lieutenant, I was a little scared—but most of all I missed my family as I spent my first holiday season away from them.
I know our COO, Paul Cucinotta, who spent four Christmas holidays away from his wife and four children over his 27 year career feels the same way—as do the other veterans and military spouses on our team who spent hundreds of birthdays, special occasions and holidays separated from their loved ones.
One of the most rewarding aspects of giving back to those that deserve your gratitude is all the benefits you receive. There have been numerous studies over the years that demonstrate the increased quality of life that can come with expressing your gratitude all year round.
Operation Gratitude CEO Kevin Schmiegel recently shared, “Our nation’s military service members and first responders put their lives on the line to protect us, and we will do anything we can to help brighten their day, bring a smile to their faces, and express our gratitude for all that they do. When the nights get dark earlier and temperatures plummet, there is no better time to slow down and reflect on things you are grateful for, especially those heroes among us.”
As you being your new year, reflect on these 3 benefits of gratitude and join us in saying Thank You to All Who Serve.
With just a few days until the new year, our unstoppable team is already preparing the first few shipments of care packages for Frontline Responders fighting COVID-19. We will recognize the sacrifices they made being separated from their loved ones and spending the holidays in hospitals, squad cars, fire trucks, and ambulances.
Our hope is you will consider making an end of year tax-deductible contribution to expand Operation Gratitude’s impact across the country this January.
“Commit to one act of kindness this holiday season” requested the next first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, as she helped put together care packages through Operation Gratitude for U.S. troops overseas in Washington, DC.
On December 10th, in her first in-person solo event since her husband, President-elect Joe Biden, Dr. Biden was joined by the nominee for Secretary of Defense, retired Gen. Lloyd Austin and his wife at the DC Armory. They helped fill the care packages with items lined up in a variety of boxes, which were sent off as a way to help spread holiday cheer.
For the past few weeks, we have been focused on the very reason Operation Gratitude was started 18 years ago — ensuring that Deployed Troops know they are not forgotten, especially during the holidays. Think about what we are accomplishing with you. In the midst of a global pandemic, we are working tirelessly to assemble and deliver 20,000 individually addressed Care Packages to service members in every corner of the world.