Bridging the Divide through Gratitude and Engagement

The BRIDGE Council is made up of corporate and civic leaders, along with Military, Veteran, and First Responder advocates, working together to bridge the civilian-service divide with a grassroots movement focused on volunteerism, gratitude, and hands-on engagement. Together, Council members will engage 1 million Americans at more than 10,000 volunteer service projects and community events across the country each year, resulting in the delivery of more than 350,000 Care Packages to our nation’s Heroes annually. Through meaningful connections in thousands of communities nationwide, the Council will bridge the divide between grateful Americans and the men and women in uniform who serve and protect them.


Operation Gratitude
Kevin Schmiegel
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret.)
Chief Executive Officer

The American Legion, New Jersey
Bob Looby
Chairman, Employment, Homeless & Education Committee and Past State Commander

CVS Health
David Casey
Vice President, Workforce Strategies & Chief Diversity Officer

Diamond Wipes International, Inc.
Eve Yen
Chief Executive Officer

Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits
Alex Conison
Brand Manager, Josh Cellars

Gorilla Glue
Rob Lackman
Chief Operations Officer

Jennifer Huggins
Armed Forces Liaison

Honor Flight Nevada
Jon Yuspa
Founder and CEO

Mars Wrigley Confectionery, U.S.
Tim LeBel
President of Sales

Target Corporation
John Campbell
Divisional Planning, Merchandising

Team Kids
Julie Hudash
Founder and CEO

Washington D.C. Police Foundation
Patrick A. Burke
Assistant Chief (Ret.), Executive Director

“Over the past decade, much attention has been paid to the widening civilian-military divide in our country. We see a similar gap developing between the general public and the 2.3 million police and firefighters also serving in harm’s way.  Now is the time to build meaningful connections and bridge the divide that exists between those who serve in uniform, and grateful Americans everywhere who want to express their support.” — Kevin Schmiegel, Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret.), CEO

OUR goals

    The BRIDGE Council will bring together corporate and civic leaders with Military, Veteran, and First Responder advocates to:

    • Engage more than 1 million Americans each year in hands-on volunteer opportunities through employee and community action events;
    • Hold more than 10,000 volunteer service projects across the country annually;
    • Deliver more than 350,000 care packages annually to Deployed Troops, New Recruit Graduates, Veterans, Military Families and First Responders;
    • Identify resources to respond to future large-scale military deployments or natural disasters.


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