Military & Veterans News
ONE MILLIONTH CARE PACKAGE CELEBRATED BY THOUSANDS. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Operation Gratitude   
Monday, 09 December 2013 16:16
It's official! We celebrated our historic One Millionth Care Package on Saturday, December 7, when it rolled off the assembly line to the cheers of thousands of volunteers, supporters, Military Brass, Elected Officials and Hollywood Celebrities. Adding to the excitement was the reveal of the special gift for the recipient of the milestone package: A Ford F-150 Pickup Truck donated by 5-hour ENERGY®.

  Under a large tent adjacent to the California Army National Guard Armory, Event Emcees Fritz Coleman, Andy Chanley and Joe Garner welcomed active duty Service Members and Military Veterans throughout the day. Many of these men and women were past recipients of Operation Gratitude care packages, and wore specially designed pins saying "I Serve" or "I Served."  Three previous Operation Gratitude Milestone Package recipients were in attendance: Sgt. Shaun Gallagher (300,000th package); Sgt. Eric Rodriguez (750,000th package) and Sgt. Samuel Mancilla (800,000th package). 

Six World War II Veterans were honored guests, including Lt. Colonel Bob Friend, a Tuskegee Airman, and Bea Cohen, the oldest living female World War II Veteran at 103-years-old.

To the delight of their fans, celebrities Leah Remini, Joe Mantegna, Stelio Savante, Bill Jones, Kevyn Major Howard and cast members from the new TV show, Enlisted, joined the festivities, as did Dodgers great Al "The Bull" Ferrara, and radio host and author, Michael Reagan. 

Making a very popular debut as the keepsake item of the Event was the "Gratitude Journal," a beautiful 148-page retrospective, chronicling Operation Gratitude from its humble beginnings to its One Millionth Package celebration. This classic "cocktail table-style" Tribute Book will be available to order online this week.
Two Assembly Lines were in full swing, producing 3,000 care packages in just two hours. In addition, the activities  included Military and First Responder Booths, fun games with prizes for young children, a letter writing area with custom printed holiday cards for the troops, a paracord bracelet workshop, and a photo booth.

Attendees were served a complimentary lunch courtesy of several community organizations and local businesses. Adding a holiday touch, Santa Claus was on hand giving out gifts to all the children.


"This is an extraordinary day in the life of Operation Gratitude," said Penny Alfonso, Volunteer and Community Service Coordinator. "I was at the very first Assembly Day in 2003 and it is breathtaking to witness this accomplishment by caring and patriotic Americans all across the country, whose goal is to say 'Thank You' to our Military."


The backdrop to the entire Event was the elegant and moving replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, presented by American Veterans Traveling Tribute. A special memorial program in front of The Wall opened with a rousing  rendition of the National Anthem by the St. Francis de Sales Choir, and an inspirational invocation by Captain Brenda Threatt, a chaplain with the California State Military Reserve. Veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan, joined Gold and Blue Star Mothers and War Dog, Cpl. Breezy, USMC (Ret.) to lay wreaths in honor of the Fallen.


In a powerful and moving display, the Condor Squadron Officers and Airmen Association touched the crowd with three flyovers of vintage World War II North American AT-6 airplanes. The final flyover performed the "Missing Man" formation in honor of fallen pilots.

In poignant remarks, The Adjutant General of California, Major General David Baldwin and John Barron, COO of American Veterans Traveling Tribute spoke of the sacrifices made by our Military and their families. Also in attendance representing their respective branches were Vice Admiral David Buss, Commander, Naval Air Forces, Brigadier General Vincent Coglianese, Commanding General, 1st Marine Logistics Group (1st MLG); and Command Sergeant Major William Clarke, the Senior Enlisted Soldier in California.

 

Steve Politis, a 96-year-old B-17 fighter pilot who was shot down over Yugoslavia in World War II, was visibly moved by the outpouring of respect for America's Veterans. "I think about the many Operati  on Gratitude volunteer 'hands' that have touched these one million care packages--either by assembling the boxes or making one of the items inside," he offered. "There is no more beautiful way to express appreciation and let our Military know that people care."

 

Always a highlight of Operation Gratitude milestone package celebrations, the reveal of the special gifts for the One Millionth Care Package brought gasps and cheers from the audience of more than 4,000 attendees. Upper Deck,
producer of sports cards and authenticated sports memorabilia, presented a poster hand-addressed to the One Millionth Package Recipient, signed by Tiger Woods.

 

Best Buy, the consumer electronics giant, revealed two Home Entertainment Systems--one each for the Millionth and the One Millionth & One packages. The systems included 55 and 32-inch Insignia TVs, Rocketfish wireless speakers, Insignia digital cameras and picture frames,a plethora of Rocketfish accessories, plus iPads.

 

 Catching the crowd completely off-guard, Living Essentials, LLC, the distributor of 5-hour ENERGY® shots, unveiled the major gift for the recipient of Operation Gratitude's One Millionth Care Package: a Ford F-150 pickup truck. The vehicle will be delivered to the soon-to-be-revealed service member upon returning home from deployment next Spring.

"Our One Millionth Care Package represents the enormous generosity and support of patriotic Americans and businesses all across the country," said Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude."We are thrilled that Upper Deck, Best Buy and 5-hour ENERGY® donated such extraordinary gifts to the milestone package recipient, who today represents all the members of the greatest Military on earth."

 

An exciting secret overseas delivery of The One Millionth Care Package, containing symbolic keys to the Ford F-150 and certificates for the other gifts, will be revealed to the public through social and traditional media in the coming week.

 

Looking ahead, Blashek noted that even as America's longest war is coming to an end, our troops continue to  deploy to "hot-spots" far from home for long periods of time, and 40,000 Wounded Warriors, 23 million Veterans and their families wonder whether they have been forgotten. "Operation Gratitude's goal remains the same: Lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our Military," she said, adding, "Today we have started our March to the Second Million."

To see great photos from the day, please visit:

March to a Million Event -- Album 1
March to a Million Event -- Album 2

For additional information about Operation Gratitude's programs and activities, follow us on these sites:

www.OperationGratitude.com
www.facebook.com/OperationGratitude
www.twitter.com/OpGratitude


Help us continue to support our Military. Please make a tax-deductible donation today: Donate Now


# # #

About Operation Gratitude: Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment and hand-made items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions. Our mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our Military. Each package contains donated product valued at $75-100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than One Million care packages.

 
2013 Illinois Joining Forces Summit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office   
Monday, 09 December 2013 14:26

CHICAGO, IL (12/09/2013)(readMedia)-- The Illinois Joining Forces (IJF) 2013 Annual Summit will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at the Union League Club of Chicago, helping to bring together a state-wide network of over 200 military- and veteran-serving organizations dedicated to helping them navigate the "sea of goodwill".

IJF is a nation-leading program through which more than 200 military- and veteran-serving organizations work together to create a "no wrong door" system of support in Illinois. The Summit will serve to facilitate further collaboration between these organizations as they set programs and priorities for 2014. This year also marks the launch of version 2.0 of the IJF website, through which Illinois Service Members, Veterans, and their Families can better search for and connect directly with local support and services. There is no cost for these services and individuals do NOT have to sign-up to use the "Find Resources" section of the website to search for services and programs from IJF member organizations - or to receive help directly the IJF Support Team in finding the right resource.

IJF was announced in 2012 as a public–private partnership established by the Illinois Department of Military Affairs (IDMA) and Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) to improve the quality of life for thousands military members and veterans throughout the state.

WHO:

Over 200 agencies, organizations and groups, dedicated to helping military members, veterans and their families navigate the “sea of goodwill”

WHAT:

Illinois Joining Forces (IJF) 2013 Annual Summit. The IJF Summit gives attendees the opportunity to work directly with fellow leaders across Illinois to celebrate current IJF accomplishments and focus on priorities for the year ahead. In addition to the Summit, we are offering an optional “Military/Veteran 101 Training” on December 11, also at the Union League Club of Chicago.

IJF will webcast the audio and presentations from the morning general session. To view the webcast, visit the following link the morning of December 10th and chose to "Enter as a Guest.” http://illinoisjoiningforces.org/2013summit

WHEN: Tuesday December 10, 2013 at 08:00AM Central Time (US & Canada)

WHERE:Union League Club of Chicago
65 W Jackson Blvd
Chicago, Illinois 60604

NOTES:

For more information and agenda, please visit: illinoisjoiningforces.org/2013summit.

 
ONE MILLIONTH CARE PACKAGE CELEBRATED BY THOUSANDS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Operation Gratitude   
Monday, 09 December 2013 12:25
Van Nuys, CA -- December 7, 2013 -- Operation Gratitude, the non-profit, volunteer-based Military and Veteran support organization celebrated its historic One Millionth Care Package when it rolled off the assembly line today to the cheers of thousands of volunteers, supporters, Military Brass, Elected Officials and Hollywood Celebrities.  Adding to the excitement was the reveal of the special gift for the recipient of the milestone package: A Ford F-150 Pickup Truck donated by 5-hour ENERGY®.

Under a large tent adjacent to the California Army National Guard Armory, Event Emcees Fritz Coleman, Andy Chanley and Joe Garner welcomed active duty Service Members and Military Veterans throughout the day. Many of these men and women were past recipients of Operation Gratitude care packages, and wore specially designed pins saying "I Serve" or "I Served."  Three previous Operation Gratitude Milestone Package recipients were in attendance: Sgt. Shaun Gallagher (300,000th package); Sgt. Eric Rodriguez (750,000th package) and Sgt. Samuel Mancilla (800,000th package). 

Six World War II Veterans were honored guests, including Lt. Colonel Bob Friend, a Tuskegee Airman, and Bea Cohen, the oldest living female World War II Veteran at 103 years old.

To the delight of their fans, Celebrities Leah Remini, Joe Mantegna, Stelio Savante, Bill Jones and cast members from the new TV show, Enlisted, joined the festivities, as did Dodger great Al "The Bull" Ferrara, and radio host and author, Michael Reagan.

Two Assembly Lines were in full swing, producing 3,000 care packages in just two hours.  In addition, the activities  included Military and First Responder Booths, fun games with prizes for young children, a letter writing area with custom printed holiday cards for the troops, a paracord bracelet workshop, and a photo booth.

Several gourmet food trucks were on site and thousands of attendees were served a complimentary lunch courtesy of several community organizations and local businesses.  Adding a holiday touch, Santa Claus was on hand giving out gifts to all the children.

"This is an extraordinary day in the life of Operation Gratitude," said Penny Alfonso, Volunteer and Community Service Coordinator.  "I was at the very first Assembly Day in 2003 and it is breathtaking to witness this accomplishment by caring and patriotic Americans all across the country, whose goal is to say 'Thank You' to our Military."

The backdrop to the entire Event was the elegant and moving replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, presented by American Veterans Traveling Tribute. A special memorial program in front of The Wall opened with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem by the St. Francis de Sales Choir, and an inspirational invocation by Captain Brenda Threatt, a chaplain with the California State Military Reserve. Veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan, joined Gold and Blue Star Mothers and War Dog, Cpl. Breezy, USMC (Ret.) to lay wreaths in honor of the Fallen.

In poignant remarks, The Adjutant General of California, Major General David Baldwin and John Barron, COO of American Veterans Traveling Tribute spoke of the sacrifices made by our Military and their families. Also in attendance representing their respective branches were Vice Admiral David Buss, Commander, Naval Air Forces, Brigadier General Vincent Coglianese, Commanding General, 1st Marine Logistics Group (1st MLG); and Command Sergeant Major William Clarke, the Senior Enlisted Soldier in California.

Steve Politis, a 96 year old B-17 fighter pilot who was shot down over Yugoslavia in World War II, was visibly moved by the outpouring of respect for America's Veterans.  "I think about the many Operation Gratitude volunteer 'hands' that have touched these one million care packages--either by assembling the boxes or making one of the items inside," he offered.  "There is no more beautiful way to express appreciation and let our Military know that people care."

Always a highlight of Operation Gratitude milestone package celebrations, the reveal of the special gifts for the One Millionth Care Package brought gasps and cheers from the audience of more than 4,000 attendees. Upper Deck, producer of sports cards and authenticated sports memorabilia, presented a poster hand-addressed to the One Millionth Package Recipient, signed by Tiger Woods.

Best Buy, the consumer electronics giant, revealed two Home Entertainment Systems--one each for the Millionth and the One Millionth & One packages. The systems included 55 and 32-inch Insignia TVs, Rocketfish wireless speakers, Insignia digital cameras and picture frames,a plethora of Rocketfish accessories, plus iPads.

Catching the crowd completely off-guard, Living Essentials, LLC, the distributor of 5-hour ENERGY® shots, unveiled the major gift for the recipient of Operation Gratitude's One Millionth Care Package: a Ford F-150 pickup truck.  The vehicle will be delivered to the soon-to-be-revealed service member upon returning home from deployment next Spring.

"Our One Millionth Care Package represents the enormous generosity and support of patriotic Americans and businesses all across the country," said Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude.  "We are thrilled that Upper Deck, Best Buy and 5-hour ENERGY® donated such extraordinary gifts to the milestone package recipient, who today represents all the members of the greatest Military on earth."

An exciting secret overseas delivery of The One Millionth Care Package, containing symbolic keys to the Ford F-150 and certificates for the other gifts, will be revealed to the public through social and traditional media in the coming week.

Looking ahead, Blashek noted that even as America's longest war is coming to an end, our troops continue to deploy to "hot-spots" far from home for long periods of time, and 40,000 Wounded Warriors, 23 million Veterans and their families wonder whether they have been forgotten. "Operation Gratitude's goal remains the same: Lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our Military," she asserted.  "Today we have started our March to the Second Million."

For more information about Operation Gratitude programs and activities, follow them on these sites:
www.OperationGratitude.com
www.facebook.com/OperationGratitude
www.twitter.com/OpGratitude

 


# # #

About Operation Gratitude: Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment and hand-made items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions. Our mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our Military. Each package contains donated product valued at $75-100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than One Million care packages.

 
TODAY @1 IN DAVENPORT: Loebsack to Speak at Central High School's Salute to Veterans Program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Friday, 06 December 2013 12:12

DAVENPORT: Loebsack to Speak at Central High School’s Salute to Veterans Program

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack will speak at Davenport Central High School’s Salute to Veterans ceremony, TODAY, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6th. The ceremony will honor alumni of Central High School who were killed in action while serving their nation in the Armed Forces. Loebsack is the only member of the Iowa delegation to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and will speak at the event. Media are invited to attend.

Davenport Central High School’s Salute to Veterans- Friday, Dec 6th

Davenport Central High School

1120 N Main St

Davenport

Program begins at 1:00pm

###

 
Pearl Harbor Anniversary. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Daniel Estrada   
Friday, 06 December 2013 11:57
Home Franchise Concepts Remembers Veterans on the Anniversary of Pearl Harbor
Co-founder of Home Franchise Concepts, Tony Forbes, Whose Father Was Stationed at Pearl Harbor During the Bombing, Gives Thanks to Service Men and Women


ORANGE, CA – This Saturday, December 7th, marks the 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing that saw 2,402 American soldiers killed and another 1,282 wounded. It was an event that sent shock waves through a nation and changed the trajectory of World War II.

Home Franchise Concepts (HFC) – the parent company of home improvement franchise properties Budget Blinds and Tailored Living – would like to take a moment to remember the sacrifices that were made that day and thank veterans of all military backgrounds for what they’ve done for this country.

HFC’s strong ties to the military are due in large part to the company’s co-founder and Executive Vice President Tony Forbes. Tony comes from a military family; his brother currently serves in the U.S. Navy and his father is a veteran of World War II. In fact, Tony’s father, William J. Forbes, was on-site when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941 which is why the upcoming anniversary is close to his heart.

“My father passed away 10 years ago but I will always remember his stories of the events at Pearl Harbor,” said Tony Forbes. “On the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, it’s very important for us to remember the sacrifices that were made and the brave soldiers that were lost that day. It’s because of these sacrifices that we were able to build the United States into one of the greatest nations in the world.”

Tony Forbes believes that through the enduring and selfless efforts of our military over the years, we’ve all had the opportunity to live the American Dream of starting your own business. Tony himself has lived it, acting as a co-founder to Budget Blinds, Tailored Living, and their parent company HFC.

As a way of giving back, HFC launched the Million Dollar Franchise Event this year which grants veterans of all backgrounds substantial discounts off the purchase of a Budget Blinds or Tailored Living franchise. The idea is to reach $1,000,000 in total discounts. It is HFC’s way of giving veterans the opportunity to live the American Dream which they have fought so hard to protect.

“Coming from a military family, I’ve been close to the people who have laid it all on the line in service to this country,” said Tony Forbes.  “This is why the Million Dollar Franchise Event is so important to me. It presents the opportunity to give back to veterans.”

The 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing presents a moment to pause, honor, and give thanks to the veterans of the United States military. Tony Forbes and the rest of the HFC team believe we should all come together to give back in any way we can.

 
<< Start < Prev 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Next > End >>

Page 11 of 115