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OPERATION GRATITUDE BLOG: SAYING “THANK YOU” TO ALL WHO SERVE

It Starts with One Act of Kindness

“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.

Stay the Course

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.

Trees Through The Forest

December 9, 2020 it will be three years since I joined our Founder, Carolyn Blashek, and 2,000 other grateful Americans at my first Operation Gratitude Assembly Day. What I saw that day took my breath away. In that moment I realized the true potential of this amazing organization that now impacts more than one million volunteers and a half million service men and women and their families each year.

27,000 Expressions of Gratitude

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, America celebrated Veteran’s Day and paid it forward to the millions who have and continue to make a difference, whether it be at home or around the globe.

Operation Gratitude continues to bridge the military-civilian divide through volunteerism and ended up creating over 27,000 care packages to deliver to veterans, surpassing the goal of 20,000 with coverage in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

Do the Impossible

Last week, with your help, Operation Gratitude was able to do the impossible. In the midst of a global pandemic, our team and our volunteers delivered care packages to 27,000 veterans in all 50 states and Washington DC.

We did more than just deliver care packages — we went a step beyond saying “thank you for your service.” We honored those veterans and their service by serving them. We lifted their spirits and gave them hope. We connected with and touched the lives of thousands of veterans who were homebound and isolated. We expressed appreciation to thousands more who heard those five words for the very first time. As one Vietnam Veteran in Baltimore told us “I will remember this for the rest of my life.”

Reuniting America through Service and Gratitude

This week, our country celebrated the 245th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps and Veterans Day. As the son of a Marine, 20-year Marine veteran, and the father of a Marine, it pains me to see our country divided.

Much like 9/11, Veterans Day this year will come and go without an opportunity to bring communities together in large numbers and celebrate the two things we need right now to reunite America — service, and gratitude.

This premise may seem far fetched to some but think back to what it was like 19 years ago on September 12th when our entire nation was united because we heard and answered the call to serve together. Recall the last time you stood alongside your neighbor at a community event or parade to express appreciation to those who serve. Remember the pride you felt like an American when you volunteered with other grateful citizens who joined forces to give back to their community or others less fortunate in a hands-on way.

Solidarity of Service Will Unite Our Country

We believe that a grateful nation that serves together is a united nation. In our lives, and in America, there is a common thread that demonstrates service to others will bridge divides. And we have seen firsthand that this solidarity of service is the best way, and perhaps the only way, to reunite our country.

It’s Not Just… a Thank You

On October 26, we celebrated the National Day of the Deployed. Operation Gratitude did what we always do to recognize those who are currently serving and those who have served in our military — we took action.

This October, we will assemble and deliver more than 26,000 Care Packages to veterans in all 50 states and DC. Many of these recipients will be isolated and homebound on Veterans Day. Just a few weeks later we will assemble and deliver our signature, Holiday Care Packages to 20,000 Deployed Troops around the world in the midst of a global pandemic.