Over the next few weeks, our unstoppable team and dedicated volunteers will assemble and ship Operation Gratitude’s signature “Christmas in July” Care Packages to 20,000 deployed Troops in more than 30 countries and U.S. Naval vessels globally.
In the heat of the summer a few weeks later, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors (like kids at Christmas) will open their individually addressed packages filled with Starbucks Coffee, Liquid I.V., luxury hygiene items from L’Oreal, Girl Scout Cookies, and other snacks.
They will also find a beautiful handmade scarf and paracord bracelet in the colors of their flag or the color RED in recognition of the sacrifices they and their families make while deployed.
With these Handmade With Love items and the bundle of 5 to 7 handwritten letters from grateful Americans, they will feel appreciated — just like the service members below who took the time to write to us last week.
When you read their emails at the bottom of this Weekly Briefing, please take a moment to consider exactly what they mean when they use the words “appreciate,” “appreciated,” and “appreciation.”
When you read their words, I hope you realize what I realized. They feel appreciated not only as a result of the “gratitude” you expressed but also because they see that you “recognize the full worth” of their service and “fully understand” the sacrifices they continue to make.
I hope you also realize when our deployed Troops say they appreciate YOU, our volunteers and supporters, it is because they are not only grateful for your treasures, they fully recognize your talents and understand that you took the time to serve in your own way, too.
Operation Gratitude’s mission to forge strong bonds is truly about appreciation in every sense of the word. With your help, we are going a step beyond saying thank you — building understanding, empathy, and ultimately bridges between civilians and our military and first responders.
To show you the appreciation, here are some of the emails from recipients that demonstrate the impact of your support.
I’d like to thank everyone involved in Operation Gratitude for the care package. Our family is currently stationed in Tokyo, Japan where my husband works as a United States Air Force Nurse at Yokota AB Hospital’s emergency department. This is actually our first home away from home as a military family. As challenging as the past 3 years have been, I’ve found that the military community is full of the kindest, most generous people this world has to offer. And even though we’re thousands of miles away from our families, we have another, bigger family here to share our experiences with. Coming home to this care package was another reminder of that. We read the notes out loud to each other. We loved that they were written by hand and so genuine, as if we were hearing from old friends. The paracord bracelets, hand sanitizers, electrolyte powders, and protein bars are so useful too! This was one of the best care packages we’ve ever received. It means so much to us that our service and sacrifice is appreciated. Thank you for your time, effort, and generosity.
– The M. Family, Yokota AB, Japan
Not sure if this qualifies as an emergency situation, but it made my life easier on deployment. I used my bracelet as a makeshift clothesline to dry my clothes. Just wanted to let you know, the care package made my day as well as my shipmates. The handwritten letters were very touching. Thank you all for taking the time for us.
We really appreciate it.
Well today I received a nice and awesome care package in the mail from Operation Gratitude. Can I say that the Red/White/Blue handmade scarf was a blessing? I have been doing this for over 26 years now and received many packages, but never one with handmade gifts of this nature. I may not be on the front lines in Iraq or Afghanistan these days but we are a busy bunch over in the Pacific. I want to say thanks to whomever made this specific scarf, no name enclosed. It has made my days, and my kids see me wearing it when we FaceTime and ask about it. I also saw another one unwrapped this morning, solid red in color, enclosed was a note from one Mary Katherine May from Littlefork, MN (bundle up, 10 miles from Canada). Please pass on a huge thank you to her as well. My unit really appreciates the time and talent from your staff and volunteers.
AWOCS (NAC/AW) Dale L.
DET 9 Guardians LCPO
NS Misawa, Japan
Good day to you!
Please pass to all those that help send care packages that we are very grateful for their time and effort to show us that we are thought of. There are so many servicemen and women who put in hours and hours each day to help in the defense of this great nation. They do it selflessly, without complaint and many of them are away from their families for months. It brings joy to them when they get packages like these and they feel appreciated. Keep up the great work back home and pass to everyone that they are appreciated very much!
We appreciate the time and effort from everyone who wrote personalized letters. It is neat that they made it all the way to Japan! Thank you from Yokota AB, Japan!!!!
Capt Eric K.
General Surgery PA-C
Dear Operation Gratitude Volunteers,
My name is SSG L. from B/229th AVN REGT and currently deployed to Iraq. We just received your packages and would like to say thank you very much. We appreciate everything you guys did for us in the rear so we can focus on the flight. My soldiers are very happy to receive the packages your organization sent to them. I attached a couple pictures. If there is anything that we can do for you, please let us know.
AVMX Platoon Sergeant
B/Co 229th AVN REGT (Gray Eagle)
Al Asad Air Base, Iraq
I came into work this morning and was presented with one of your special care packages. Wow! What a pleasant surprise! And such a kind thoughtful act on your part. I’ve been in law enforcement for many years now and it’s always encouraging to know there are people out there who still appreciate what we do. You put a smile on many faces in my office today and that’s not been easy to do of late. You’ve sincerely made my day and I thank you for what you are doing.
I’d like to thank you and your team for the generous donation of items for our LAPD West Valley Police Station family. My husband is one of over 200 officers there, all of whom enjoyed and appreciated the goodies and beautiful letters!!
Thank you so very much for your support of our heroes!
– Marta F.