Operation Gratitude

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posted on Jul 23 2005 0 Comments

Jeep dealerships nation-wide become the first Official Donation Drop-off Sites for Operation Gratitude

To help kick-off Operation Gratitude’s 3rd annual Holiday Drive, an all-new 2006 Jeep® Commander dove 1,200 feet from a Sikorsky helicopter accompanied by seven skydivers.  The Jeep brand will expand its partnership with Operation Gratitude® by making the nearly 2,800 Jeep dealerships nationwide official drop-off locations for Operation Gratitude, the national non-profit organization that collects comfort items and letters of appreciation from the American public and ships them to Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors deployed overseas.

“The Jeep brand’s military heritage goes back more than 65 years, so it’s only natural that our dealers would expand our relationship with Operation Gratitude to support our service men and women around the world” said Jeff Bell, Vice President – Jeep, Chrysler Group.

In order to reach troops in time for the holidays, Operation Gratitude will begin collecting donations at Jeep dealerships immediately. Supporters are encouraged to drop off snack and entertainment items ranging from energy bars to tuna salad kits and from CDs to DVDs. Personal letters to the troops expressing support and gratitude are much appreciated. For a complete list of requested items, please see the Wish List at www.OperationGratitude.com

“Through our expanded partnership, the Jeep brand and its dealers have made it possible and easy for every American across the country to participate in Operation Gratitude’s effort to express thanks and appreciation to the troops” said Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude. “With the Jeep brand’s help, we hope to reach our goal of sending more than 30,000 packages this holiday season.”

The all-new Jeep Commander took approximately 30 seconds to touch ground after being released from the Sikorsky helicopter.  Seven skydivers with Operation Gratitude and Jeep banners accompanied the Jeep Commander descent. After landing, the production model Jeep Commander drove from the drop zone with the seven skydivers to a staging area where Jeep VP Jeff Bell presented Operation Gratitude’s Carolyn Blashek with hundreds of Wish List items to kick-off the Holiday Drive.

Operation Gratitude volunteers will begin assembling and shipping the Holiday Drive care packages during the Veteran’s Weekend, November 10-13 and continue during the Thanksgiving Weekend, November 25-27. The organization expects to ship its 100,000th package before year-end.  For the Jeep dealer nearest you, visit: www.jeep.com

July 2005
Operation Gratitude Newsletter

Dear FriendsWith your exceptional support, we have just completed our most successful Care Package Drive to date: 27,112 Patriotic Packages were assembled and shipped to our courageous men and women serving overseas, bringing our overall tally to 71,458 packages since our inception!

Many other new and exciting developments are taking place for Operation Gratitude, including the launch of our new Website, revised Newsletter and Email system and a new fundraising program. We hope you will enjoy reading about all of them in this Summer Newsletter!

PATRIOTIC DRIVE 2005 Surpasses All Expectations!

1,500 OPERATION GRATITUDE volunteers, wearing hand-made red, white and blue headbands, celebrated to DJ style music and Subway sandwiches (generously donated by the Los Angeles area franchisees), as they formed a human assembly line to package and ship over 20,000 gift boxes during the 4-day Memorial Weekend.
Fox News and all local media channels, newspapers and radio stations sent reporters to cover the spectacle, and to their amazement, witnessed people from all age groups, ethnic backgrounds and geographical locations, gather together to ensure that our men and women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other theatres of operation would receive a small package of love during the summer, beginning with the 4th of July Holiday.

The gift boxes were filled with items donated by corporate sponsors and individual donors. Items included Girl Scout Cookies, AA batteries, DVDs, Music CDs, Beanie Babies and other novelties, candy, Smartzone Bars, Coppertone sunscreen, t-shirts, Emer’gen-C, hats, Cell Boosts, Craisins, AT&T and Callingcards.com phone cards, SF Bay Coffee, Sunkist Pistachios and various other goodies.

The Patriotic Drive kicked off with an emotional Reenlistment Ceremony for a soldier recently returned from Iraq who had received an Operation Gratitude package while deployed. Cpl Buckles told the volunteers that he chose to continue serving in large part due to the support he had received from the American people as represented by Operation Gratitude. Several other Soldiers and Marines who had returned from recent deployments, and several scheduled to deploy in the coming year worked side by side with the civilian crew. As the weekend rolled on, the pace quickened to ensure that every servicemember whose name was submitted would receive a package.

During the Father’s Day weekend and several subsequent Fridays, the intrepid group of Hard Corps Volunteers continued to fill additional boxes to reach 27,112 Patriotic Packages sent. Now that the total tally has surpassed 71,000, the dedicated Volunteers are committed to shipping more than 30,000 packages for the Holiday Drive–passing the 100,000 total package mark!


THE PACKAGES ARRIVE!! Troops send emails, letters and pictures

Pkgs Arrive The first Operation Gratitude Patriotic Package arrived in Afghanistan in a record-breaking 7 days!! Our thanks go out to the wonderful men and women at the Van Nuys Regional U.S. Post Office, who worked through the holiday weekend to ensure that our packages were processed as quickly as possible.
Our first recipient wrote: “I am a proud member of the United States Air Force serving in a deployed location in the war on terrorism. I recently received a wonderful box of love from “Operation Gratitude”. I want to express my appreciation for this incredible surprise blessing. Your thoughts, prayers and warm wishes are greatly appreciated and heart felt. It gives me great honor to serve the greatest nation in the world and to serve in the world’s most powerful and respected Air Force. It is people just like all of you that make my serving over the last 18 years worth while. Again, thank you for serving your men and women in uniform. V/r MSgt D.M. P.S. Please know that it has been years since I have eaten Lemon Coolers (Girl Scout cookies) and I enjoyed them to the fullest.”

A commanding officer in Fallujah wrote: “Your efforts and selfless donations of time and goods are appreciated by everyone here. My Marines were impressed that anyone would take the time to tell them how they felt, especially when it was somebody that they didn’t even know. Please know that your support does make a difference, and is important to the young men and women working over here. They honestly feel that what they are doing is important. Knowing that their work and sacrifice is appreciated and thought of at home provides them with a great deal of comfort and confidence. From the bottom of my heart, please accept my sincerest thanks on behalf of all of my Marines and Sailors that received your care packages. It was incredibly generous of you, and was a tremendous morale boost for everyone here. God bless you, and thank you. Maj B.K.”

And from a Soldier in Iraq: “I would like to thank you for the care packages that Operation Gratitude has sent my unit. Words can’t express how the package that I personally received touched me, the letters from the kids and the Veterans were really touching and it is so ironic how I received my package on The 4th of July. Your organization is wonderful and even in this 116 degree heat, on this day when most people because of the holiday would miss home and their families, I am happy because there are people like you that are at home looking out for me and my fellow soldiers. Again I thank you and GOD Bless you!!!! SGT A.L.”

We have received beautiful letters from the family members as well:“A month or so ago I listed my husband to receive a package from you. You emailed him and asked for the names of all of the soldiers in his unit. I just want you to know that they received the packages and were as excited as kids at christmas. My husband said it was one of the best packages that he had received. He asked me to email you all and let you know how much they appreciate what you are doing for all the soldiers currently deployed. Thank you for your care and support. Thank You, L.B.”


VISIT OUR NEW WEBSITE!! New Design and Features

Please visit our newly designed website! Be sure to check out our new features: the Great Ideas section, which features interesting ways that supporters have raised funds or collected items for Operation Gratitude; the Sponsors’ Page that features the corporate donors that have generously provided at least 10,000 items or $10,000; and our BlackAnthem News Section that features daily uplifting stories about the military.
Be sure to view our returning features as well: Mail Call and News Straight From the Frontlines to read the letters and essays from our courageous troops currently deployed. With our packages arriving now, we update the Mail Call section on a daily basis. And please take a moment to write a message to our troops in the Guest Book!
Help spread the word about Operation Gratitude and our efforts. Please be sure to forward this email and/or the website to everyone on your email distribution list!

SHOP ONLINE AND BENEFIT THE TROOPS! Get Discounts and Donate at the Same Time

Care Clicks Logo Now you can do all your online shopping at more than 1000 of your favorite stores and websites through the Operation Gratitude Mall. Just click on the Care Clicks link in this Newsletter or on our website, or go to: www.opgrat itude.com/shop, and start shopping. Many of the merchants offer significant discounts to Operation Gratitude supporters, and every merchant in the Mall donates back a percentage of your sale to Operation Gratitude!
This is a terrific way to send gifts and purchase your own items from the convenience of your desk or laptop, while at the same time supporting our men and women in uniform. Keep an eye out for lots of upcoming special Holiday offers through the Operation Gratitude Mall!


Operation Gratitude Support

The cost of shipping each package averages $10-15 Financial donations to Operation Gratitude, a 501(c) (3), all-volunteer, non-profit organization, are devoted to shipping costs and are tax deductible. Donations can be made by check payable to Operation Gratitude (and sent to the address provided below) or by credit card through PayPal from the Operation Gratitude website or by clicking on this link. $ USD
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email: [email protected]

web: http://www.opgratitude.com

Thank you to every person throughout the country (and beyond) who wrote letters, collected items, donated funds, assembled packages and/or told a friend about Operation Gratitude! You all made our Patriotic Drive a huge success! We look forward to your continued support throughout the year, and especially for our 2005 Holiday Drive!



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