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Finding Family in Operation Gratitude

This is a special post written by Andrew Buss.  He and his brother are part of the Operation Gratitude family as they create connections through their storytelling business, Foreword Films

Family. That’s a strong word. Family is built on love, trust, and accountability, among many other things. Family is crucial for survival. Without it, what would the world look like? It’s unimaginable.  

Hi there, my name is Andrew Buss. Over the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to be considered a part of the Operation Gratitude family. I have loved every minute of it. 

Brothers

You may be asking yourself, why? Why do I love this connection I have with Operation Gratitude so much? 

The true and simple answer is… Family. Family is the most important thing in my life, and it’s the reason I am alive and doing what I’m doing today. 

In 2012, I decided the best thing for me was to start a storytelling business with my brother, Connor, called Foreword Films. Our goal is to help small businesses, start-ups and nonprofits tell their stories through film and other digital means. 

We knew from an early age the importance of these organizations and the inspirational and hope-filled stories that come along with them.  

Buss Family Kids

Fast forward a few years and we are living in Los Angeles working hard to pay rent, bills, and keep our dreams of growth and business development alive. We were introduced to Operation Gratitude. 

Their mission and their people blew us away. We knew we had to get involved with the organization. 

When the opportunity came up for my brother and me to work with Operation Gratitude, we jumped at it. This was an opportunity to be a part of something special and to be a part of another kind of family.  

My brother and I were blessed to be raised in a comfortable household with our parents and oldest brother, Brian. We were loved and supported. We grew up on the belief that we could do or be anything we wanted. 

I wanted to play in the NBA, but not my brother Brian. He wanted to be a U.S. Marine. He became a Marine, and it is something I have always been proud of, even though I wasn’t serving our country.

Marines graduate boot camp

Any chance I got to say the words “My brother is a Marine” I took it.

Every. Time. 

A few other members of my family served including my Grandpa. He never missed an opportunity to thank military personnel for their service. 

When I was younger, I didn’t understand why he always made it a point to show gratitude. I didn’t truly understand the meaning behind his actions. Now, I have a firm grasp of that meaning. I have Operation Gratitude to thank for that understanding.  

Not only do I get to work with my own blood, but I get to do great work for people, like my oldest brother, who have served and continue to serve our country. 

Marine and his niece

We get to interact with people who make us feel like part of the family. 

I’ll never forget the first Operation Gratitude Care Package Assembly Day I attended. I instantly felt the love, compassion, and energy of the people writing letters, stuffing bears, and making Care Packages. 

I even remember packing my first Operation Gratitude Care Package, it felt oddly familiar. I had a quick flashback to when we wrote letters and stuffed boxes with items for my oldest brother. 

I was so proud to be doing it again. 

Foreward Films volunteers with Operation Gratitude

Fortunate doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about the relationships we have built over the years, especially with Operation Gratitude. 

The only word I can truly use to describe it is… Family.

If you would like to learn more about our Operation Gratitude Family, please visit our website

Dedicated to Buss Family Members: Maj. George Benford, Maj. David Burgess, Maj. Byron Johnson, 2nd Lt. Michelle Johnson, Lance Cpl. William “Taylor” Wild, and Pfc. Christopher “Brian” Buss

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