Today and every day, we say “Thank you”

Today is the day we remember the price that was paid for our freedom.

Some of the brave men who took part in the Battle of Normandy are still with us. We can never say “Thank you” enough.

OperationGratitude.com

Over the years Operation Gratitude has been privileged to send care packages to thousands of veterans, including those from the Greatest Generation making a trip with the Honor Flight Network to see the National World War II Memorial and other monuments in Washington, D.C. 

Last week we received an email message from one of Honor Flight JS2the recipients (pictured here meeting Senator Bob Dole):

“Operation Gratitude: I appreciate the Gratitude Box. The GOODIES were well received. You provided so much that I shared some with our Veterans Home here in KY. Your publication indicates that you are interested and dedicated to helping all Veterans. Looks like you are a fun group. God Bless you all. J.S. QM3/C 1944-1946 USS Kaskaskia”

We want veterans from all eras to know their service has not been forgotten. Please allow our work to continue by joining our efforts to thank and support them.

Every care package counts – make a donation today.

THANK YOU!

Important — Please note: We accept care package requests from and work directly with VA hospitals, Veterans nursing homes, official Veterans groups, and other Veteran support organizations. We are unable to honor individual requests. To request Veterans Care Packages, Program/Activity Directors and Representatives from Veterans groups should contact Operation Gratitude at OpGratVet@aol.com.

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Have You Said “Thank you” Lately?

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5 Simple Ways You Can Join Operation Gratitude to Say “Thank you” to Troops and Veterans:

1. Organize a Collection Drive of “Wish List” items.

2. Round up unwanted, used cell phones for recycling.

3. Knit or crochet gifts of love for the Scarves for Troops Program.

4. Write notes of thanks to deployed troops and veterans.

5. Make a Financial Donation – every $15 sends another care package!

Thank you for your generous support! Together we can make a difference in the Military Community!

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock. Used with permission.)

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“…we are forever indebted…” — Memorial Day 2014

1351052B“We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.” –President Ronald Reagan, May 26, 1983

This Memorial Day and every day, we honor our nation’s fallen loved ones by paying tribute to their memory and to those who carry on our Military’s tradition and greatness.

We are grateful for the hundreds of people who spent part of their Memorial Day weekend volunteering with us, assembling Operation Gratitude care packages filled with goodies, thanks and love! (Photos are posted here: May 24 — Volunteer Day)

As you enjoy your holiday weekend, please remember the reason we celebrate Memorial Day…and keep our currently deployed troops and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Photo caption: The “defensor fortis” patch stands out against the black beret of Senior Master Sgt. Roelma Wood, 51st Security Forces Squadron, during the Police Week retreat ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 16, 2014. “Defensor fortis” is Latin for “defenders of the force.” (U.S. Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Ashley J. Thum. Used with permission.)

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A New Program is Born!

Operation Gratitude had the distinct honor of inaugurating its “New Recruit Care Package photo 5Program” at the United States Naval Academy on May 16, 2014.  The OpGrat team of Marty & Rick Martin (CA) and Brigid and Dan O’Neill (NY) greeted and presented “New Recruit” Care Packages to each of the more than 1,000 members of the Class of 2014, our country’s newest Naval and Marine Corps Officers. 

The following is Marty Martin’s recap of the day:

We all respect the rigorous academic and physical regiment that each Midshipman endures, but what is most profound is their patriotic commitment to our country.  They are so humble, polite, appreciative…and adorable! It was an honor to be with them and to represent Operation Gratitude at this photo 1event. CDR Dave Shaffer, (pictured with Marty at left) Director of Special Events, enthusiastically supported our involvement at the Academy. He and his team of Lieutenants staged the Care Packages for distribution and were incredibly warm and hospitable the entire day.  Truly a bonus for the Martins and the O’Neills! 

 The Care Packages included a letter of introduction assuring the new officers that we will support them from Day 1 throughout their careers and beyond, and that we will be with them during each deployment, sending Care Packages (prepared with love from the American people) to each Sailor or Marine under their command.

We were treated to a tour of the Naval Academy with all its tradition and beauty. It was an all-around wonderful experience and we are thrilled to have had the honor of launching the New Recruit program. We can all be so proud, as Americans, that we truly have the most remarkable military in the world! 20140518_124555B

On the other side of the country during the same weekend, local Operation Gratitude volunteers at LAX welcomed home our most senior and honored Military members: World War II Veterans returning from Washington DC, where they visited the WWII Memorial and other monuments as part of an Honor Flight trip.

Inspired by our motto, “It is Never Too Late to say Thank You,” the volunteers handed out care packages and hugs 20140518_122055Bto thirty very brave and humble heroes, including two Tuskegee Airmen. (See more photos here: Cheers, Hugs & Operation Gratitude.)

The weekend was a beautiful illustration of Operation Gratitude’s commitment to our Military community–from the day they step forward in service, and throughout their lives.

Please join Operation Gratitude as we express our thanks and support to our heroes.

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Every Care Package Counts

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Dear Friends,

Our Troops need you. They need to know they are remembered and appreciated for the Inside the Boxsacrifices they make each day.

All of you — our dedicated supporters — have made a tremendous difference in service members’ lives over the past 11 years.

However, the need is still great.

Why? Because the millions of Veterans and Wounded Warriors, and the tens of thousands of men and women still deployed in harm’s way, need a reminder that someone at home is thinking of them. 

Whether you knit a warm scarf, donate “wish list” items, give $15 to send one package, $45 to send three packages, or send a package every month of the year for $180, we need your help.

I hope you will take this opportunity to visit www.OperationGratitude.com and support our continuing mission to serve those who serve.

Thank you!

Fondly,

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Carolyn Blashek

Founder and CEO
Operation Gratitude

P.S. Please watch and share this wonderful, inspiring video:

 

 

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Live near LA? Volunteer with us!

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We love our volunteers! Want to join us? We welcome everyone age 12 and older and we offer a wide variety of jobs — there’s something for everyone!

OpGrat Assembly Day May 26 024Find our full schedule, important armory rules and more details here:

Operation Gratitude Volunteer Schedule (Please keep checking back, since we sometimes have last-minute changes.)

Please download, fill out and bring this Release Form with you to turn in at the Volunteer Check-In table. Pick up a nametag while you’re there, and then if you need Community Service Hours for school or work go to the Community Service desk to sign in. When you leave, sign out and you will be handed a certificate indicating the hours you worked.

If you are inquiring on behalf of a corporate group, club or business and would like to volunteer during the week, please send an email to Dana@OperationGratitude.com for more information regarding our different volunteer opportunity levels/activities from which to choose.

The armory address:

Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard
17330 Victory Boulevard (at Louise)
Van Nuys, CA 91406-5438

Ample parking is available in an adjacent lot.

Yes, we work hard…but we have a lot of FUN, too!

Watch more Operation Gratitude videos at our YouTube channel.

Don’t live near Los Angeles, but you still want to help? Find more information here: Help Make More Smiles — No Matter Where You Live!

More questions? Contact opgrat@gmail.com and we will get back to you asap!

As always, THANK YOU for your support!

 

 

 

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USS Gettysburg: Welcome home — and THANK YOU!

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It was an exciting honor to be among the friends and family welcoming home the crew aboard USS Gettysburg! An added bonus was seeing Operation Gratitude’s One Millionth Care Package recipient, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW) Brooke Oekerman, again, and giving her the keys to her 2014 Ford F-150 pickup truck. THANK YOU, 5-Hour Energy, for this generous gift!


Watch a WJXT4 The Local Station story about the homecoming: http://bit.ly/QtUJjw

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For more about Operation Gratitude’s One Millionth Care Package, please read this earlier blog post: Mission Accomplished

See more photos from this special day here: Welcome Home, USS Gettysburg!

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