Thursday, August 31, 2006

Secretary Rumsfeld Visits Operation Give

There are many things that the American people can do to help our military during their deployments. We can write letters and send care packages and let them know we believe in them. We can also assist the organizations who are set up to assist the military while they are doing their jobs. One such organization is Operation Give.

Operation Give was started by Chief Warrant Officer, Paul Horton, known to blog readers as "Chief Wiggles", during the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It began as his readers sent boxes of stuffed animals for him to hand out to the Iraqi children. It has grown. It is now a humanitarian organization that ships toys, medicine, and educational supplies to children in war-torn and devastated nations throughout the world. Operation Give provides these items to the military so that they may do more outreach to the local populations. The "Operations" include: Operation Give Second Sight, Operation Clean Teeth, Operation Play Sports, Operation Joys with Toys, Operation Back to School, and more... It is run by volunteers and depends upon donations from Americans.

Paul Horton writes:

"Thousands of sincere, charitable people stepped forward with pure acts of kindness, donating wonderful items and money in order to bring happiness into the lives of thousands of Iraqi and Afghanistan children.

"Our US military men and women, with the help of numerous Iraqi and Afghanistan people, were able to deliver with love your generous gifts. Through these acts of kindness, made possible by all of you, they were able to build bridges of love and understanding. Consequently, our men and women in the military were able to make great strides towards our goal of winning the hearts and minds of the people they are fighting for. Through love and kindness we can all help build these bridges spanning misunderstandings, distrust, and hatred, that permeates the society of that part of the world. Through love we will find a way and the answers to our problems.

"Unfortunately, there are those who chose hatred as their answer and desire all free men and women to be in bondage or killed. There are evil forces that fight against democratic free rule, wanting only for their own power and position. For this reason we must continue to fight back to insure our own freedom. We must not back down or retreat to the safety of our own distant homes, for they are coming and they are relentless. We can only hope that the opportunity to let our true selves shine through will arise, enabling the people of these countries to see who we really are. We ask that all of you do what you can to help us now win the peace through your own acts of love and kindness."

Earlier this week, Secretary Rumsfeld paid a visit to the volunteers at Operation Give.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, center, meets with Operation Give volunteers and thanks them for their contributions during a stop in Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 29, 2006.
Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF

America Supports You: Rumsfeld Thanks Utah Volunteer Group

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA American Forces Press Service

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 29, 2006 – Wrapping up a trip here that also included stops in Alaska and Reno, Nev., Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld met today with volunteers from “Operation Give,” a nonprofit organization that supports children in war-torn and natural-disaster-affected areas of the world.

“Those of you who volunteer your time are appreciated,” Rumsfeld told thevolunteers assembled in a warehouse. “(Your efforts) are appreciated not only in the countries where they end up helping, … but they’re also appreciated by your fellow citizens. It says a lot about our country. It’s a generous country; it’s probably the most generous country on the face of the earth.”

Operation Give is a member of the Defense Department’s “America Supports You” program, which highlights ways in which the American people and corporations are supporting the nation’s men and women in uniform. Operation Give facilitates the distribution of toys, clothing, medical supplies and other items to children in countries such as Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Before meeting the volunteers, Rumsfeld met privately with the parents of Marine Lance Cpl. Adam Galvez, who was killed in Iraq on Aug. 27. Galvez’s parents are Operation Give volunteers.

Volunteers busily packed boxes with supplies before Rumsfeld’s arrival. Rumsfeld shook hands with each volunteer and was given a tour and an explanation about how Operation Give works.

All the supplies sent by Operation Give are donated by people from across the country, explained Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Paul Holton, Operation Give founder and president. The warehouse here is used as a sorting facility, and from there the boxes are shipped to the military in countries where they’re needed, he said. The military distributes most of the supplies donated by Operation Give, he said.

“Wherever there are people in crises, our idea is to get this stuff in the hands of the military, so they can build that bridge,”

Holton said. Holton, also known as “Chief Wiggles,” founded Operation Give in 2003. He served in the 1990-91 Gulf War and saw duty in Iraq from February 2003 to March 2004. Since 2003, Operation Give has shipped more than 35 40-foot container loads to Iraq and Afghanistan, five to Sri Lanka, and one to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, Holton said.

Rumsfeld said the people in the areas receiving these supplies are always grateful, and the work Operation Give does goes a long way toward improving the U.S. image overseas. He also praised the America Supports You program, calling it a great way for people to learn how they can support the troops.

“So many people get on that Web site and see things other people are doing, and get excited to do things themselves,” he said.

Article from Defense Link

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