A Perfect Way to Say Thank You

As we celebrate veterans, take a moment to show you care.

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Posted in , Oct 27, 2014

Photo of troops happily receiving care packages from Operation Rescue

Carolyn Blashek is living proof that tragedy can inspire us to do great deeds. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, Carolyn knew she had to find a way to support our country.

Her first instinct was to join the military. She headed to the recruitment office to enlist but the then-46-year-old mother of two was turned away because of her age. A little rejection didn’t discourage her.

Determined to get involved, Carolyn volunteered at a military lounge at the Los Angeles International Airport where she comforted deploying service members.

During heartfelt conversations with men and woman heading into war zones, Carolyn recognized a deep need for troops to know that someone at home truly cares about them. It was then that she got the idea to send care packages like she had done to comfort her children when they were away from home.

In 2003, Carolyn started her non-profit organization, Operation Gratitude, in her living room, making care packages using just a few boxes and some donated items. From there, the effort snowballed with donations and requests for packages pouring in. As of this year, Operation Gratitude has sent more than 1.1 million care packages. Guideposts has joined Operation Gratitude’s mission by sending 10,000 copies of Guideposts magazine to our troops every month.

For a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine, these packages are more than just boxes of snacks and entertainment. These gifts of love, with handwritten notes of thanks inside, are a way for our troops to know that they have not been forgotten, that they are valued and that their service is appreciated.

“The letter always ends up being the most precious gift in the care packages,” says Carolyn. Many of the troops return the thanks, sending notes back to Operation Gratitude, like this one:

“My shipmates and I have enjoyed the cookies…. I’ve enjoyed reading through the Guidepost magazine, and am looking forward to reading the Mark Twain book. The beanie baby (a plush lizard) is looking forward to traveling the world and eventually finding a new home (along with world travel pictures) with a 6 year old family friend. Thanks so much for the all the packages you’ve sent!” –L.A.

Every day is a good day to show your appreciation for the many sacrifices our troops and veterans make but as we celebrate Veterans Day, it’s an exceptionally perfect time to take a moment to show you care.

Guideposts will be sending 5,000 copies of Joys of Christmas 2014 to help bring comfort during the holiday season. Learn how you can support Operation Gratitude and Guideposts Military Outreach.

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