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.
You can help us send one or more Care Packages over the next 59 days by clicking here!
What we will accomplish with you under extraordinary circumstances is nothing short of heroic. Every one of those care packages will include a hand-knit or crocheted scarf, a handcrafted paracord bracelet, handmade blank greeting cards, and beautiful handwritten letters of appreciation — because of you.
Think about it… despite the numerous and overwhelming challenges associated with COVID-19, more than one million items, many of them handmade by you with love and care, will lift the spirits of our men and women in uniform, past and present, between now and the end of the year.
The impact that your herculean efforts will make on our Deployed Troops, Veterans, and their families, cannot be measured. As one Soldier stated while deployed to Afghanistan on Christmas Day in 2018, your actions will bring “joy to an otherwise lonely heart.”
For the past 10 weeks with these briefings, I have tried to articulate that the items you make and the care packages we send are much more than expressions of gratitude. I hope I have conveyed that properly.
I want you to know that saying “thank you for your service” is critically important. From time to time, you may hear people and organizations say that it is not. Don’t listen to them, they are wrong. Our men and women in uniform need to hear those five words now more than ever.
With that said, I also want you to know that it’s not just a “Thank You”… it is an opportunity to build understanding, empathy, and ultimately bridges between civilians and our military, veterans, and first responders.
This is important for me to share as the CEO of Operation Gratitude because, with you, our organization must now go a step beyond saying “thank you for your service.” We have a responsibility as an organization to do so and make more meaningful connections between those who serve and the citizens they protect. And we will.
This is the reason I came to Operation Gratitude. During my 20 years in the military, I knew many service members and their families who felt disconnected from the communities in which they lived, and from their civilian neighbors. I want to help build bridges, by creating a better understanding of what it means to serve and connecting people like you who appreciate the sacrifices our service members and their families make.
Operation Gratitude is uniquely positioned to do exactly that. And we will — with your help.
I say this at a time when our country is divided. Our communities are divided. Americans are divided, because we are focused on what makes us different instead of the things we have in common, like our passion for service and the belief that America is, and always will be, the greatest nation on earth. These divisions have been exacerbated by a pandemic that has prevented our country, communities, and Americans from coming together.
I promise you that when COVID restrictions are lifted we will bring communities back together; we will bridge divides; and we will reunite America through something our COO, Paul Cucinotta, once described as “Solidarity of Service.”
In the meantime, I’m asking you to help us continue our mission during these unprecedented times. We must show our veterans that they will never be forgotten, and we must strengthen the courage and resolve of our Deployed Troops who will be away from their loved ones during the holidays.
It starts with a “Thank You” and it starts with YOU.
To close I want to personally thank you for taking the time to read my weekly briefings. I hope you know I am trying my best every day to lead this amazing organization and share a part of myself every time I write to you. I do this because I am honored to serve alongside you, and I am grateful for everything you have done to support Operation Gratitude, our mission, and those who bravely serve our nation.