Happy Anniversary, Operation Gratitude!

On March 19, 2003, Operation Gratitude got its start in the living room of its founder, Carolyn Blashek. Four care packages were shipped that week. Nine years and more than 760,000 care packages later, we thought we would take a trip down Memory Lane to reminisce and appreciate all that has been accomplished thanks to the help, generosity and dedication of countless friends, donors and supporters…


Operation Gratitude quickly grew too large for the Blashek home. The charity moved to the California Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, CA…


SSG Elizabeth Cowie was our “Armory Angel” who made it all possible for Operation Gratitude to use the armory facilities…Here she is (pictured below on the right) at the armory with her mother…

As more and more volunteers joined in, Operation Gratitude sent more and more care packages…


We would finish up at the assembly line and form a human conveyor belt to load up the trucks…


…then we’d take the care packages down to the post office…and unload them to be shipped…


…and start all over again!


While much has changed over the years — we’ve added the Battalion Buddy and Wounded Warrior and other programs — what has not and never will change is our commitment to deployed troops who have volunteered to serve our country. We will continue to honor, thank and support them with care packages lovingly filled with goodies and treats from home. 


…It is their amazing work and sacrifice that makes our work worthwhile.

Thank you to all our troops, past and present…and thank you to all who have helped Operation Gratitude over the years! 

To get a really good idea of how Operation Gratitude has grown and changed, please watch these “oldie-but-goodie” videos…

As always, THANK YOU for your support!

About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude annually sends 200,000+ care packages to Veterans, First Responders, New Recruits, Wounded Heroes, their Care Givers, and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home. Each package is filled with food, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, as well as personal letters of support. Our mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the Military and First Responder communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for civilians anywhere in America to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation. Each package contains donated product valued between $45 and $100 and costs our organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 1.6 Million Care Packages.
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19 Responses to Happy Anniversary, Operation Gratitude!

  1. Happy Anniversary
    Great job!

  2. Annie says:

    Operation Gratitude, I didn’t know the magnetude of your organization until just now, and I’ve got to say, “I’ve got a thrill…” (tongue in cheek). No, it warms my heart to know of patriotic Americans like you. Who work, not for the financial reward, but because it’s needed. Many thanks for all and a Happy Anniversary!

  3. Sarah Roman says:

    Happy Anniversary! And THANK YOU for all that you do for our heroes.

  4. Pingback: Operation Gratitude | Talon's Point

  5. Jack Benton says:

    Reblogged this on EHS Safety News America and commented:
    Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in harm’s way, to their children left behind, and to Wounded Warriors recuperating in transition units. The organization’s mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people. Each package contains donated product valued at ~$125 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. For safety and security, assembling of packages occurs at the Army National Guard armory in Van Nuys, California. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 760,000 packages to American Military.

  6. b4tfb says:

    Reblogged this on So Stacy Thought.

  7. b4tfb says:

    You guys are awesome! Happy Anniversary!

  8. SSG Cowie says:

    I don’t have enough THANK YOU’s to all the wonderful supervisors and volunters that make Operation Gratitude a success from Day 1 and continue to support our military. And Carolyn – there were times when it was tough and somehow some way things fell into place and Operation Gratitude grew into a nationwide effort that our military so needed . . THANK YOU for your dedication and devotion!!

  9. ssgt leslie says:

    thank you to opgrat, been seeing great things come from you all from the beginning, when i was deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 to the present. may you all continue to be successful in all of your endeavors. i appreciate all you do for us.

  10. OH Blog says:

    Happy Anniversary from all of us at Operation Homefront! Good people, great purpose, incredible work on behalf of our deserving military men and women.

  11. B says:

    Kudos to Ann H for this presentation and to Carolyn (the inspiration), the Board Members, Devoted Supervisors and Volunteers who have unselfishly put in untold hours in supporting our great Men and Women who serve in hostile regions not knowing if the next moment will be their last. Our military perform under unimaginable circumstances and do so with a high degree of professionalism. We are happy to volunteer at Operation Gratitude to give all Americans the opportunity to personally express their thanks to these brave men and women who sacrifice so much to ensure our way of life. God Bless America

  12. Reblogged this on nebraskaenergyobserver and commented:
    And a Happy Anniversary to Operation Gratitude

  13. WOW Didn’t realize that two of the things I care most about share the same birthday 3/19…… Happy 80 th Birthday to my wonderful Mom and Happy Anniversary to my good friend Carolyn and Operation Gratitude !!!!!!!

  14. Happy Anniversary, indeed.

  15. Pingback: Happy Anniversary, Operation Gratitude! | Green Mountain Scribes

  16. Alan Sexton says:

    “Like”. Happy Anniversary, good people!

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