A guest post from long-time supporter and volunteer, Linda Landau:
During Operation Gratitude’s first Assembly day of the 2013 Patriotic Drive, I was overseeing/supervising the placement of donated items into our care packages. It was brought to my attention that along with a donation of 50 handmade Paracord bracelets a donor included 50 individual stars with a very moving note attached (see below).
Each star had these words attached:
Retired Flag Star: I am part of an American Flag. I have flown over a home in the U.S.A. I can no longer fly. The Sun and Winds have caused me to become tattered and torn. Please carry me as a reminder that YOU are not forgotten.
After wiping away a tear, I arranged for a volunteer to lovingly place these into the boxes that were being packed.
I don’t know who the donor was but this stayed with me and touched me. I thought that this would be an absolutely perfect item to include in ALL of our packages, not just a few. Over Memorial Day weekend I just happened to come across a posting about the group Stars for Our Troops!
Now I had a vital link to pass on to Operation Gratitude founder, Carolyn Blashek! She readily jumped on the idea and put the wheels in motion with a wonderful team led by Ruthie Norris and Kelly South. Due to the enormous reach of our operation (100,000 + packages annually) we received the blessing of Stars to branch out on our own. We have various projects for the troops that are “Made with Love” but wanted this venture to have a name of its own. As a result, “STARS OF GRATITUDE” has been born to honor OUR Shining Stars with stars from a cherished piece of Old Glory to keep close to their hearts. Forever they will know that they are NOT forgotten.
Would YOU like to help out with “Stars of Gratitude”? Find more information here: How to Participate in the “Stars of Gratitude” Program
Most sincerely, “Little Linda L”