We Are Family

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Last week, I spent a few days with my family on vacation, and I had time to reflect on what our team and our army of volunteers have accomplished so far this year. In the midst of these unprecedented times, our family at Operation Gratitude found a way to adapt, evolve, and overcome adversity.

Together, as a family, we continued to take action, impacting more than 325,000 Deployed Troops, Military Families, Veterans, and COVID-19 Frontline Responders in 35 states and Washington DC. 

It’s hard to believe that a year ago on July 20, 2019, I was at an Assembly Day at our HQ in Chatsworth, CA with more than 700 of you, working together to assemble more than 12,000 Operation Gratitude Care Packages with more than 400,000 individual items in just 3 hours. Those care packages included tens of thousands of Handmade With Love items — scarves and hats, paracord bracelets, and handwritten letters of appreciation from grateful Americans like you across the country. 

This week, I was with a much smaller group of about 100 volunteers, spread out over 6 shifts in 3 days to allow for social distancing and sanitizing of work surfaces.

We assembled 5,000 Care Packages, to be delivered to Deployed Troops overseas as a reminder that we recognize and appreciate their sacrifices always, but especially as deployments are extended and service members and their families desperately miss each other and struggle during times of extreme uncertainty. 

These photos, taken at Assembly Days one year apart, are a stark reminder to me of how dramatically life can change in a relatively short period of time. One thing that will never change is Operation Gratitude’s commitment to meeting the needs of our brave men and women in uniform.

I can’t wait for all of us — our family — to come together again in large numbers to say thank you to those who serve and bridge divides in communities nationwide. Until then, we will continue to lead and provide opportunities for hands-on volunteerism while supporting hundreds of thousands more Deployed Troops and COVID-19 Frontline Responders.

You can help us continue to serve those serving our communities and our nation by making a small donation and/or joining our virtual volunteerism movement. This week we have a big need for snacks for our Care Packages! Please consider purchasing a snack item from our Amazon Smile list:

Thank you for being part of the Operation Gratitude family, and for doing your part in helping us accomplish our mission during these challenging times. 

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Building Bridges with Our Nation’s Heroes

Our team is asking you to stay the course with us and go a step beyond saying “thank you for your service.”

We’re asking you to help us build bridges between civilians and our men and women in uniform and their families in communities nationwide.

Support, See, and Stand with Them

As you read these words, there are moms and dads saying goodbye to their kids at airports just like I did on January 25, 2008 when my oldest son Luke turned 13. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was on my way to Israel where I would spend the better part of my final year as a United States Marine. My youngest son, Jack, who was then 7, cried inconsolably, clutching the back of my neck and refusing to let go.