Operation Mom

Military Family Support
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COLFAX RECORD 11-02-2011
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Colfax Record
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A project even some adults may not think of taking on isn’t too ambitious for a 10-year-old girl from Alta. Aubrey Nave, a sixth-grader at Colfax Elementary School, has launched Operation: 5,000 Thank You’s. With the help of community volunteers and her mother, Kristen Nave, Aubrey plans to create 5,000 handcrafted thank you and holiday cards that will be sent to U.S. troops. All cards will go to Operation: MOM to be included in care packages sent to members of the military serving overseas. Aubrey’s volunteer card-making event will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at Colfax Veterans Memorial Hall, located at 22 Sunset Circle. Lunch will be provided. It would be helpful to have a head count, so the Naves ask that volunteers planning to attend call them at 368-9265.

A donation of $10 per participant is also requested to help cover material costs. Aubrey is a Girl Scout with Troop 2643 in Alta and the Operation: 5,000 Thank You’s will count toward her Silver Award as a Junior Girl Scout. Aubrey has already heard from members of local organizations who plan to help embellish the cards on Nov. 12. “I’ve had great response,” she said. “So far, we have between 15 and 20 people attending. I’ve had people, such as Kiwanis Club, sending volunteers.” She is also counting on donations to fund the project. “Donations have come from GKM of Colfax, Ben Franklin in Grass Valley and Beverly Fabric store of Rocklin, and the Green Tangerine,” Aubrey said. “We had between 10 to 15 other companies all over the United States that donated adhesive, stamps and card stock.” “Cynthia Nored, office manager for GKM, said her company donated 5,000 pieces of card stock that they also scored and folded. “GKM likes to donate as often as we can to the community.

Our president, Donny Dunn, was more than happy to donate for the cause. We also donate to Colfax High School, pretty much with any community project. If they need help with the printing, GKM supports their efforts,” Nored said. Aubrey and her mother conceived the project, and began organizing it, in September after Kristen Nave returned from a scrapbooking event in Arizona. Kristen Nave said her family has great respect for those who serve in the military, since grandparents and Working after school and on weekends, as of Monday, Aubrey had completed 588 cards. All cards also include a personalized message.

“We’ve had an assembly line,” Kristen Nave said. “She’s doing decorating … then writing messages after we’re done with cards. We’re hoping with more people we can crank them out a little faster.” Kristen Nave said whatever time volunteers can spare on Nov. 12 will be appreciated. “Some will come for couple of hours; others all day. Whatever time they can spare, we’d love to have them … I am asking people to RSVP to get ahead count for lunch,” she said. Sierra Market of Colfax is donating water and sodas, and Raley’s, Bel Air and Safeway have supplied gift cards that will be used to purchase sandwich trays. Even Aubrey, who’s on a soccer team, will have leave for a while during the day. She also plays baseball and runs track.

Pat Ryan, group leader for the Placer County chapter of Operation: MOM, is impressed by Aubrey’s spirit. “It’s an unbelievable project,” Ryan said. “It’s very heartwarming that a 10-year-old is inspired to do something of this magnitude for our troops.”

Operation: MOM packs and sends from 100 to 125 “A Touch of Home” packages every month to troops, who appreciate the cards. “Something this personal is definitely special,” Ryan said. “It really means a lot … It lets them know we are all here supporting them even though we don’t know them personally.” The Naves also plan to complete 400 additional holiday cards and deliver them to the Operation: MOM monthly packing event on Nov. 15, where they’ll also volunteer. Ryan said the group, which has been supporting troops for eight years by sending packages, will hold an open house at 5 p.m. at their packing site at 2349 Rickenbacker Way, at the airport industrial park, in Auburn. “People can bring products, come help pack, or just see what we’re all about. You’re welcome to come, have some cake, look around,” Ryan said. “Hopefully, it’s inspiration to other people,” she said.

This can be seen on their website at:
http://www.colfaxrecord.com/article/10-year-old-girl-scout-organizing-volunteers-military-thank-you-cards
COLFAX RECORD 04-27-2011
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Erica Heikila, a senior at Colfax High School, organized a fundraiser for her senior project for Operation: MOM on April 9.  Operation: MOM is a non-profit organization that sends packages each month to the troops in harm’s way of Placer County and Beyond. We also have a support group that meet monthly.  

Erica, your event was a roaring success. Her entire family, mom, dad and brother helped as well as her school buddies from Colfax High. The food was great, cooked by Lila McAllister.  The Lions Club of Colfax donated their time. This girl worked really hard and did and awesome job. A giant thank you to all! Pat Ryan, Operation: MOM


See this on their website at:
http://www.colfaxrecord.com/article/kudos-chs-senior-project
COLFAX RECORD 11-10-2010
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By Marci Seither Colfax Record Correspondent “A few months ago I was at the Sacramento Airport and saw a group of people holding American flags and posters,” recalled Bill Gallaher of Alta. “They told me they were there to welcome home local soldiers just returning from Afghanistan.” Gallaher, a Vietnam vet who served from 1967 to 1972, paused and choked back emotion before he could continue. “I wish there had just been one person when we came home,” he continued. “There wasn’t anyone.” Gallaher, like many of the young men and women who served during the Vietnam War, returned home to face the anger and betrayal of fellow Americans. “I grew up believing that the USA was the guy in the white hat. The guardians of the world,” said Gallaher, who joined the Air Force after earning a degree in geography. “Everything they did, no matter what, was right. That is what I believed — until I got to Vietnam.”

At 26, Gallaher was one of the older members in his unit and, as Captain, navigated the EC47 on daily intelligence gathering missions. “We were flying over Laos and Cambodia and listening to the Armed Forces Network,” recalled Gallaher. “President Johnson was telling the nation we were not anywhere near those countries. “I knew where we were. It hit me, if our plane goes down, they wouldn’t admit we were there. We would be captured and either killed or tortured and listed as a MIA or POW. I realized the government was lying.” The betrayal left Gallaher with a void that has taken years to refill and replenish. And yet, one thing that was never questioned was Gallaher’s commitment to patriotism and his country. “Condemn the war, not the warrior,” Gallaher recalled a saying on a T-shirt worn by another Vietnam Vet wearing. “It is important to support those in the field.” While Gallaher felt he could make a difference by enlisting in the service, there were others who avoided and rejected the draft.

Some enrolled in school. Others, such as Applegate resident Dave Woodin, registered as conscientious objectors. “Vietnam was going hot and heavy,” said Woodin. “I wrestled with the Biblical concept of killing and murder. I never marched in a protest, but did a lot of studying and research. Eventually I moved to a Navajo reservation where I worked at the boarding school doing general maintenance.” But Woodin still could not come to terms with his initial decision. In 1973 Woodin enlisted in the Army. “I realized after doing a lot of reading that our founding fathers, who had a strong belief in God and the Bible, had to fight for our country and the rights we have today,” he said. Woodin became a career Army officer, serving for 22 years before he retired. “I served in the Cold War, Grenada and the Gulf War,” said Woodin, who was stationed all over the world during his military career. “For all the things that people read about wars and conflicts, there are a lot of things that don’t get covered.

There is a need to stay alert and active to what is going on in the world around us.” While it may have taken Woodin a while to decide on serving, David Canfield, a 1987 Colfax High School graduate, knew from the time he was a young boy that he wanted to be “a daddy who worked on ships.” “I was 17 when I enlisted in the Navy,“ said Canfield who lives with his wife, Tanya, and four children in Meadow Vista. “I was on the USS Iowa when Turret Two exploded. I lost 47 shipmates,” he said. “It took a long time before I could talk about the incident. I had always known there was a risk in serving, but after that day the risk was even more real — one I was still willing to take.” Chief Petty Officer Canfield later served on a special warfare combat craft and is still an active reservist. “There may be things that people don’t agree with, but it is important to respect our freedoms and honor the institution of democracy,” said Canfield. “Something changes about the way you feel about the flag when you hand it, folded into a neat triangle to a family and say ‘On behalf of a grateful nation…’ You realize that freedom is something very precious.”

Operation mom seeks help Operation Mom needs help filling holiday boxes for those serving overseas. “Feedback from our troops are that they are hungry,” said Dee Rein, group leader of the Placer County Operation Mom. “ We have plenty of toiletries, but really need food and snack items, especially bags of beef jerky.” Operation Mom will be packing 200 boxes starting at 6 p.m. on Nov. 16 at the Veterans Memorial Hall, 22 Sunset Circle in Colfax. Each box costs $10.70 to ship. For more information on how to support Operation Mom, visit operationmom.org.

You can view this on their website at: http://www.colfaxrecord.com/article/vets-speak-out-service-country
COLFAX RECORD
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The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls announced at California’s 81st Grand Assembly in Fresno, that California Rainbow Girls raised $66,256.20 towards their Grand Service Project, Kristie's Foundation, the first end-of-life care facility of it's kind for children.

Kristie’s Foundation is the only non-profit resource program for families of critically ill children.
It will be the first children’s hospice of its kind, in the nation. Traditional hospice services were not created with children in mind.  Laurie Kotas, founder of Kristie’s Foundation say’s “At Kristie’s Place our focus will be on life and helping families make the most of every moment their child is alive. We believe that even in the darkest moments, each day in a child’s life is one that can be lived to its fullest.

”California Rainbow spent the year raising money for Kristie’s Foundation by holding bake sales, washing cars, holding penny drives, serving dinners and many other fundraising activities. California Rainbow Girls have worked to serve others, earning over $1,000,000 in the past 10 years. It was through these efforts that Rainbow Girls learn to help make a difference. It’s what they do for love, lessons they'll carry with them for the rest of their lives!

Rainbow Girls from New Hope Assembly No. 57 are out providing service in our community all year long!
For example, the New Hope Rainbow Girls are very active with our local “Operation Mom” program collecting items for care packages for our troops serving. They volunteer with the CHP River Clean-up on Earthday, make service blankets for the Binky Patrol, participate annually in Auburn’s Relay for Life event and collect items for our SPCA, the Placer County Animal Shelter. These girls are amazing!

Ever since 1922, the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls have been a service organization developing young women between the ages of 11 to 20 years. They foster a girls self confidence and leadership skills all while serving their community and provide a fun and safe environment to make friendships that last a lifetime. The reward for service is that indescribable feeling within one's heart. The New Hope Rainbow Girls continually serve our community and we applaud their efforts!

New Hope Assembly is now accepting applications for membership for their summer term. If you’d like to learn more information about the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls or New Hope Assembly, contact Mother Advisor, Mrs. Kristie Larson @ (916)770-9176 or visit the California website at
www.gocarainbow.org.

Rainbow get’s girls ready for life, to better prepare to be the leaders of tomorrow!

Keywords
Rainbow GirlsNew Hope AssemblyKristie's FoundationKristie's PlaceIORGInternational Order of the Rainbow for Girls,Operation Mom
COLFAX RECORD 10-19-2009
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Operation:MOM needs your help to make a difference
By marci_seither

2 photos | Posted 10/19/09 11:26 AM | 
4 comments

Operation:MOM is holding a special event to help collect items for the holiday "Touch of Home" packages.

when :October 24th from 9am-3pm
where: Grocery Outlet corner of Elm and Hwy 49
what: Lunch will be served will the proceeds going toward
Operation:MOM

People can also drop off or purchase needed supplies such as snack items, and socks to help fill the boxes sent to troops who will not be home for the holidays.

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Dee Rein and Carole Park of Operation Mom stand in front of the empty shelves they need to fill in order to send holiday "Touch of Home care packages to those serving overseas.
COLFAX RECORD 10-07-2009
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Dee Rein and Carole Park of Operation Mom stand in front of the empty shelves they need to fill in order to send holiday "Touch of Home care packages to those serving overseas.
“I can’t believe we are canceling our packing meeting,” said Carole Park of Colfax as she choked back tears of disappointment. Dee Rein, who heads up the Placer County Operation Moms group, reluctantly canceled this month’s meeting because there are not enough supplies to fill the boxes sent to those military personnel serving overseas. “This is the first time in six years that we have been in existence that we have totally run out of supplies.” Last month only 87 boxes could be mailed because of the lack of supplies. “If things don’t change soon, we may not be able to send out our annual Christmas mailing either. The shelves are totally empty,” said Rein.

A collection for holiday care packages will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24 at Grocery Outlet at the corner of Highway 49 and Elm Avenue in Auburn. For more information, visit operationmom.org. Or drop off donations, like granola bars, beef jerky, hard candy, raisins, gum as well as socks to Sierra Junction Realty.

See this on their website at:
http://www.colfaxrecord.com/article/operation-mom-needs-fill-empty-closet
COLFAX RECORD 12-28-2005
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Dee Rein is doing all she can to help keep up morale of the troops serving overseas. Monthly, the Colfax resident and Placer County group leader of Operation: MOM sends care packages to troops deployed around the world. The nonprofit organization was formed as a support system for anyone with a family member actively deployed in the military. Rein knows first-hand how vital that support system is in helping family members get through each day their loved one is overseas. Her son, Adam Duncan, 24, spent nine months in Saudi Arabia and seven months in Iraq.
Operation:MOM meets at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month at the Colfax Veterans Memorial Hall, 22 Sunset Circle. The organization is seeking donations to cover monthly shipping charges for up to 75 care packages. Checks can be sent to Operation: MOM Placer County. P.O. Box 515, Auburn CA 95604. Call Dee Rein at 320-4954 for more information.


IN THE KNOW:
"If your son was deployed, you can't express your worries or your anxieties to others who haven't been there," said Rein, 54. "Unless you have been there, others can't be sympathetic or empathetic." Even after five years of being an Army mom, it isn't any easier. Rein takes great pride, though, in her son's recent promotion to sergeant and her daughter-in-law's promotion to staff sergeant. "Those with family members deployed are trying to get through the holidays," Rein added. "You don't know if your loved ones are going to come home alive." Rein faced that terrifying thought nonstop during her son's and daughter in-law's deployment in war-ravaged surroundings. "They were deployed four days after 9/11 - my son was deployed to Saudi Arabia, my daughter-in-law to Kuwait," Rein said. "I didn't hear one word for nine months.

I anguished every day. I went to work, pretended I was OK but I was worried every day. It's hard to assimilate normal life. You keep it to yourself; you can't vent." In January 2003, Rein received probably the biggest scare of her life when Duncan announced he was being sent to Iraq to work in air defense. "I was even more worried because my son said he was scared. He said, 'if no one shows up at your door, it's good news,'" Rein recalled. "They all had to write their will and testament before they left." Then Rein read a newspaper article about the newly formed Operation:MOM and decided to check out the group. Members at the monthly meetings gave her strength and faith to hope for the best because they were going through the same emotions and fears. Although talking about her son serving in the Army is a poignant subject for Rein, she remained composed until Cindy Sheehan's name was mentioned. After Sheehan's son, Casey, was killed in Baghdad in April 2004, Sheehan became a prominent figure in the anti-war movement, setting up camp near President Bush's ranch in Texas for weeks at a time, hoping to talk directly with him. "I would like Cindy Sheehan to let the parents with loved ones deployed be. Don't demoralize us. She can't speak for us," Rein said. "I'm proud of the children putting on the uniforms. She's not helping. Morale is so hard to keep up overseas."

Rein spends up to 20 hours monthly building morale through Operation:MOM. She speaks at whichever service groups will invite her and leads the public support group/care package meetings the third Tuesday of the month. "I'd like community members to think of our troops not just during the holidays but throughout the year," Rein added. So would Gertrude Paul, who is extremely proud of her great-grandson, Patrick Wixon, an Army sniper in Iraq (see adjacent story). "My family for five to six generations has always had someone in the military," said Paul, the Colfax Area Historical Society founder.

That doesn't prevent her from worrying about him every day. "I say a prayer. He's on the daily prayer list of my church, Faith Lutheran Church, in Meadow Vista," Paul said. "I feel he's in God's hands. It doesn't do me any good to worry. So I think of all the good things he does. I'll be glad when they're all back from Iraq." As for Wixon, he looks forward to the care packages sent by Operation:MOM, Friends of Nevada County Military, his great-grandmother's Sierra Sirens Red Hat club and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2003. He receives so many care packages from area groups, in fact, that Wixon shares the packages with his 30 platoon members. "People from this area have been great. Thank you for the support. Our morale's good," Wixon added.

See this on their website at:
http://www.colfaxrecord.com/article/iraq-war-felt-home-front
COLFAX RECORD
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Nathan Seither and Eli Shaw of the 2/7 Marines appreciated the "Touch of Home"packages from Operation Mom they received while serving in Afghanistan.
COLFAX RECORD
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Quilt show organizers Suzanne Maguire, left, Terri Andrews-Murch and Rebecca Martinez confer on fabrics for a quilt at Whistle Stop Quilt Show.

While she may not consider herself an artist in the traditional sense, Rebecca Martinez has a knack for transforming fabrics into wearable works of art and wall hangings.

And she is a strong supporter of other fabric artists.

For the third year in a row, the Colfax resident is inviting fabric artists to participate in a quilt show to be held during Colfax's Railroad Days celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Martinez as well as Whistle Stop Quilt Shop owner Suzanne Maguire and Realtor Teri Andrews-Murch are hoping to hang at least 30 quilts ranging from traditional to modern designs ― from the balconies of buildings along Main Street from Church to Depot Streets.

While not a traditional quilt show venue, it is not unusual to hold a quilt show outdoors, Martinez explained. Communities like Petaluma and Lafayette have become known for the outdoor venue for their popular quilt shows. The upside of hosting an outdoor show, the women agree, is that it draws people into town.

"In our case, it will help businesses around here," Andews-Murch said. "It's a way to get people to walk around Main Street and not just stay in the parking lot."

Members of the Colfax Junction Quilters Guild wearing white gloves will be stationed at each quilt to assist admirers desiring to look more closely at the back, Martinez said. Handmade ribbons will be awarded in several categories, including Best of Show, Mayor's Choice and Chamber's Choice.

Entry deadline is Sept. 13. Fee is $5 per quilt. Applications can be picked up at the Whistle Stop Quilt Shop on Main Street or at the Colfax Area Chamber of Commerce in the historic Railroad Depot. Proceeds will benefit Operation Mom, a Colfax group that sends packages to military personnel serving overseas. Each woman draws on her unique vision and love of quilts in planning this event.

A Colfax resident since 1994, Martinez's grandmother was the first person to recognize Rebecca's Interest in art. "I was 3 or 4," she recalled. "I took her address book and decorated it for her. I copied some letters out of some book, some faces and stuff." It became one of her grandmother's treasures, Martinez recalled. Instead of scolding her, Martinez's grandmother proudly showed the book off to all her friends.Throughout high school and college, she continued to study art, eventually focusing on graphic art. In her heart, however, Martinez is a fabric artist. "I've had a fabric collection since I was 9," she said. "I was always making things with them. It's my pallet."

She often buys items at thrift stores, then takes them home, takes them apart and either reuses the fabric or redesigns the clothing. When her children were attending a coop pre-school, Martinez volunteered to design a quilt for their fundraiser. Not only did she fall in love with the art form, but she also delighted in the camaraderie of working with other quilters.

After settling in Weimar in 1993, Martinez connected with the Foothill Quilters Guild and began attending workshops offered through the guild. She continues to sew – specializing in wearable art and creating her own quilt designs.

While Andrews-Murch has been making baby quilts since she was 12, her true passion is collecting antiques. "I buy ones that call to me," she said. Andrews-Murch, who also coordinates the summer hot rod shows, loves the idea of people walking through town enjoying the quilts. "My mission is to get people downtown," she said.

Maguire also discovered her love for sewing and fabric as a youngster. "My mom is a wonderful seamstress," Maguire said. "There was always a sewing machine up and a basket of fabric around."

While living in the Bay area, Maguire had
COLFAX RECORD 01-16-2008
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School launches global awareness effort, fundraiser

By: Gloria Beverage, Colfax Record Editor Wednesday, January 16, 2008 Students at Colfax's Camptonville Academy are being encouraged to think globally.

One of the school's goals this year is to connect the 220 kindergarten through high school age students with the community - both locally and globally, explained Sandy Shea, area coordinator for C.O.R.E. at Camptonville Academy.

Students have already been reaching out to military personnel serving overseas. They have collected enough snacks, socks and toiletry items to fill four boxes to be mailed overseas by Operation Mom, Shea continued.

However, their primary focus will be raise awareness and funds to support a school in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Inspired by Greg Mortenson's "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace," students and staff have made the commitment to join the A+ Foundation's mission to support one school in Pakistan or Afghanistan over the next five years.

Mortenson advocates girls' education as the top priority to promote economic development, peace and prosperity. According to his Web site, Mortenson says, "you can drop bombs, hand out condoms, build roads, or put in electricity, but until the girls are educated a society won't change."

Just before the winter break, school staff launched its own Pennies for Peace drive. According to the Pennies for Peace Web site, the drive "teaches children the rewards of sharing and working together to bring hope and educational opportunities to children in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A penny in the United States is virtually worthless, but in Pakistan and Afghanistan a penny buys a pencil and opens the door to literacy." "We have raised about $50 so far," Shea explained. "We are going to see how much we can raise by the middle of April. "

The school is also partnering with Forest Charter School in Nevada City to host a large fundraiser in the summer or fall.

"By participating in this fundraiser," Shea said, "we are providing an opportunity for students to learn about global issues while raising money to support efforts for global peace. Through his struggle to provide schools in communities that have been affected by terrorism, Greg Mortenson teaches us the value of persistence and selflessness.

"His mission is to work with communities to meet their needs, which truly connects to our mission as a personalized learning charter school - to meet the needs of our community," Shea continued. "I feel like we are working towards the same mission in many ways, connecting us globally through the value of education."

High schools students will be reading and discussing Mortenson's book over the next few months. The Leadership Class from Forest Charter will facilitate those discussions, Shea said.

Finally, the community is being invited to join in a discussion of Mortenson's bestseller. The first in a series of meetings will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the Colfax Center, 225 So. Railroad Avenue. "People can learn more about what they can do," Shea concluded.

For more information about the projects, call 346-8340.
COLFAX RECORD 03-20-2003
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WAR, not if, but when …

By A. Thomas Homer
Thursday March 20, 2003

As the deadline passed, Wednesday evening for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq, U.S. forces in the Middle East were waiting for orders from their Commander and Chief, President Bush. The question is 'no longer if the United 'States will go to war against Iraq, but when?

On the home front, most went about their daily routines with little change. And while the debate continues over US. involvement in Iraq, one group of women who could be most effected, gathered in Auburn in support of their sons..

A local organizational meeting of Operation MOM attracted a small group of mothers, girl friends, grandmothers and family members who have sons and daughters in the military in Iraq. Helping get the program started is Alta resident Bobbi Park.

"Supporting our troops isn't a new idea," Park said, "But most support groups are based on one branch of the military. Operation MOM supports sons and daughters in every branch of the military and is open not only to mothers, but other family members as well. That is what got my attention."

Park's son, Marine Lance Corporal Keith Pratt is on the front lines in Iraq along with several other recent Colfax High School graduates.

"What we want to do is begin compiling a list of servicemen and women from this area," she said. "That way we can begin to send them care packages, letters and our support. We also plan on placing donation boxes and get the word out as to what they need. "It's amazing to find out how many families are affected with a son or daughter in the military."

"I want people to know that we are moms, we're parents. We don't want a war or our children there, but I respect them and the job they are doing. We support them."

War news from the front as well as anti-war protests at home floods the television news. "The hardest part is watching all the anti-war demonstrations she said. "I respect their opinion, but my son is over there protecting their rights to be against the action our President is taking. Emotionally it is not healthy for me to focus on someone else's opinion that I don't agree with."

Also attending the meeting was Lcpl. Pratt's girlfriend Leann Shehan. "He called Sunday morning and said he was fine. He told me he was safe and not to worry", she said.

Pratt's stepfather Steve Park is a Placer County Sheriff's Deputy. Several PCSO Deputies have sons in the military in the Iraq area. Deputies Dan Hall, Rocky Warren and Jeff Brown all have sons in the war zone.
OAKLEY PRESS 03-21-2003

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OPERATION MOM
March 21, 2003

OPERATION: MOM
Supports Troops
by Anna Sanders Correspondent

In addition to supporting our military troops overseas, "Operation: MOM" is helping families here on the home front.

Beth Chism of Oakley has a son, Jack, 22, who is a corporal in the Marines. He was stationed in California up until recently and now Chism guesses he is somewhere in the Middle East.

It's difficult not knowing where her son is, but she finds support and comfort through the nonprofit group Operation: MOM.

"As a mother, it was my job to know where my children are and to keep them safe," Chism said. '1 can't keep him safe if I don't know where he is, that's part of the dilemma. "

Jack Chism, a 1998 Liberty High graduate, not only has left behind his mother, but his wife and a 5-month-old baby girl, too.

Operation: MOM holds monthly meetings for spouses, parents, siblings and friends of military personnel. The meetings allow them to share their thoughts and concerns about their loved ones who are overseas defending out country.

"The first meeting was a relief that my feelings weren't so off the wall," Chism said. "Quite often when I hold his daughter, she looks so much like him, the tears just well up. You need a shoulder, someone who understands the emotions and feelings you are going through. I get support and I give support to the other family members."

Chism said she has learned about situations that are considered normal for military families, but can be disturbing if you are unaware of them.
"Shortly after deployment, you'll get a life insurance policy in the mail." she said "If you're not told that, it could freak someone out."

She also has discovered the difficulty with communicating with a loved one in the military after deployment.

"she explained. "You may not hear from them, or where they are, but that's normal."

In addition to the support the group offers family members, Operation: MOM also takes care of our soldiers by providing "A Little Touch 'of Home" care packages, which contain items possibly unavailable where they are stationed.

Chism said she has always sent her son care packages of cookies, and fun items like wind-up toys, but he is often the only one in his unit to receive treats from home. "Mail call is a big deal," she said. "There are a lot of them that don't get any mail. The point is everybody is interested in what Jack got".

Since February, Operation: MOM has sent more than 1,500 care packages to military personnel that are distributed by either a Chaplin or Commander to those who need them.

The group follows military restrictions regarding what can be sent. They make shoe box size packages filled with goodies, such as beef jerky, sunflower seeds, vitamins, word puzzles, dental floss, sunscreen, playing cards, cheese and cracker packs, gum, hard candy, and hygiene products like sample size shampoo, toothpaste, and Q-Tips. Phone cards are especially valuable for calling home. "It costs them 10 cents for every minute that they talk from the Middle East" Chism said.

The group is planning to put together more care packages soon and needs donations, including boxes nd letters of support. The local group meets in Antioch on the first Monday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. For location, call Operation: MOM at 706-1736 or visit www.operationmom.org.

"You're helping these people to know that they are cared about", said Beth. Donations for care packages can be dropped off at the Armed Forces Recruitment Center in Coutny East mall, 2642 "A" Sommersville Road, Suite 3, between noon and 4 p.m. Monday though Friday.


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Operation MOM packing day April 27

Operation MOM, a grass-roots support group of and for military families, will hold a packing day on Sunday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Novato Toyota, 115 Vintage Way, in the Vintage Oaks Shopping Center, Novato.

Care packages for troops deployed overseas will be sorted and packed by volunteers. Anyone interested in donating items such as individual-size portions of snack foods, hygiene items, International phone cards, paper, pens, envelopes and packaging products are encouraged to bring such items to Novato Toyota Sunday morning.

For more information call (925) 706-1736 or visit the Web site at www.operationmom.org


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UNION DEMOCRAT 06-28-11

Union Democrat
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Afghan withdrawal brings relief to some families
Written by Union Democrat staff June 28, 2011 10:33 am

President Barack Obama’s announcement that 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be coming home by September of next year encouraged some Sonora residents, but the joy is tempered.

The president’s plan will see 10,000 troops leaving the country by the end of 2011. These are troops deployed more than 18 months ago as part of the administration’s “surge” in Afghanistan. The first soldiers are slated to start leaving next month while the remaining 23,000 will be drawn down over the course of 2012, leaving approximately 70,000 U.S. soldiers still in Afghanistan. The administration expects Afghan security forces to take full control of the country by 2014.

Jennifer Rapp, of Sonora, whose 22-year-old son, Army Sgt. Bobby Rapp, was killed by a suicide bomber in eastern Afghanistan while guarding an Afghan government building in 2008, has mixed feelings about the announcement. “I have to just trust that our president and our armed forces know what they are doing and this is the right time to be doing this,” she said, “but my big concern, through Bobby, is that we don’t leave the people of Afghanistan stranded, that they are ready to take care of themselves.”

She said her son helped build a police station in Afghanistan and train the police force. “He was extremely concerned about their abilities and Taliban infiltrates,” she said, “and, of course that’s how he was killed. Two of the police officers were Taliban infiltrates.” On the other hand, she said she knows the United States can’t solve all of Afghanistan’s problems, and she is thrilled that American troops are coming home.

Debbie Morris, of Arnold, whose son, Marine Lance Cpl. Gavin Brummund, was killed in Afghanistan last year, said the president’s plan is a step in the right direction, but is still problematic. “I’m glad that he’s trying to do the right thing, now. It’s about time that he wants to take care of our own country. We should be helping ourselves.” Morris said. “I just wish it could be faster.” And the fact that more troops are still being deployed to Afghanistan and other countries bothers Morris. The unit that Gavin Brummund was a part of was deployed again on June 11 — one year and one day after her son’s death. “I don’t think it should take a whole year,” Morris said. “They don’t need to be deploying more troops, they just need to get the guys out safely.”

Fanya Schmidt, of Sonora, has a similar opinion. Schmidt’s daughter, a captain in the Air Force, will be deployed to Afghanistan even as the “surge” troops are returning home. “I want them to be brought back,” Schmidt said. “I feel like we’ve accomplished the initial goal already and they should be brought home.”

Pat Padavana, founder of the Sonora chapter of the military family support group Operation MOM, said the drawdown will be a relief to other military mothers. “Speaking from the hearts of our moms, they and I would love to have that happen,” Padavana said of troops returning home. “We’re all looking forward to that day.”

The parents and families of soldiers on deployment face unique stressors, Padavana said, so the thought that a substantial number of soldiers could be returning is a good thing.

“I remember not having anyone to talk to,” said Padavana, whose son served in the Navy. “Not having anyone understand what I was feeling.”

Schmidt, whose daughter has already completed one six-month deployment at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, said her daughter “feels horrible” about the prospect of another deployment.
   
Jorge Gonzalez, a veteran of Iraq and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, says multiple deployments are commonplace as the U.S. fights multiple wars across the globe and that the effects put strain on soldiers and their families. He is skeptical about the president’s plan to reduce troops in Afghanistan.

“We’ve heard this same thing before,” said Gonzalez, who runs a coffee shop near Fort Lewis, Wash., that also helps returning soldiers get access to services they may need. “This is very much too little too late,” Gonzalez said. “Bringing back 30,000 troops isn’t going to help much.”

The troop drawdown will bring American soldiers home, he says, but that doesn’t necessarily correspond to a reduction in U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. Fewer soldiers may be on the ground, but the presence of private contractors and unmanned drones will remain and possibly even increase, Gonzalez said.

Matt Howard, a former Marine and veteran of Iraq, agrees with Gonzalez. “Any type of disengagement from Afghanistan I see as positive,” said Howard, who is  also a member of IVAW. “I wonder, though, what that will mean on the ground.”

Howard also mentions the specter of an increasing level of involvement by private contractors in Afghanistan — something, he says, he saw happen when troops were pulled out of Iraq. “With contractors,” Howard said. “You have the ability to continue wars without the same level of public support that you would need with a big troop movement.”

Both Howard and Gonzalez think Obama’s timeline for the drawdown is motivated by political strategy. The last of the full 33,000 “surge” troops, they point out, are slated to return home by September 2012, right before the next presidential election.

“I’m very much not surprised by this,” Gonzalez said. “I’m disappointed, this could’ve been more meaningful, but it wasn’t. It’s just another regurgitation of the same thing.”

Howard sees a positive element in Obama’s plan, though — the power of public opinion. “To my eyes, there’s an encouraging component,” he said. “It means that there’s enough public pressure or that some of this pressure is at least starting to have some sort of effect.”

For Fanya Schmidt, the solution is simple and the president’s plan is just a start. “I don’t want my daughter to go,” she said. “Just like I don’t want any other kids to have to go back. I want them to be brought back home.”

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UNION DEMOCRAT 03-17-2008

Union Democrat
reviews Operation Mom

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Community honors one of its own: Sgt. Rapp

March 17, 2008 12:00 am

Nearly 4,500 U.S. servicemen and women have given their lives for their country in Afghanistan and Iraq. California alone has lost 476 soldiers.

Many Americans have grown numb to reports of ambushes, grenade attacks and suicide bombings in those distant lands. Maybe, say cynics and skeptics, we've become insensitive to the ongoing struggle, battles and casualties there. Worse yet, they may claim, we no longer appreciate the ultimate sacrifice by the thousands who have given their lives in service to America.

Friday, those skeptics should have been in Sonora.

Putting politics aside, this community came together for an unprecedented show of grief, respect, appreciation and gratitude for Bobby Rapp, a 22-year-old American soldier who lost his life in a March 3 suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

Shortly after 9 a.m., with church bells tolling, thousands lined a yellow ribbon-bedecked Washington Street as the funeral procession passed. Except for the church bells, there was not a sound as the hearse carrying the flag-draped coffin drove through downtown Sonora. Flags were waved and tears shed.

En route to the church the cortege drove by Sonora Elementary School where Bobby was a student. The students saluted their hero.

An estimate of over 1,000 bid Bobby farewell at a Sierra Bible Church funeral service where the overflow stood outside, where speakers had been set up, to hear the tributes to Bobby.

Sharp, stirring reports of a 21-gun salute filled the air at Dambacher Mountain Memorial Cemetery as the young patriot was put to rest.

Footage from the day-long tribute aired on Sacramento TV stations and viewers from suburbs and cities throughout Northern California learned what we already know: Community bonds in this small town are always firm, but never are they so strong as when tragedy hits.

The Rapp family has, for decades, contributed to Tuolumne County. Jennifer Rapp, Bobby's mom, was a leader in Sonora Elementary and Sonora High school parent groups. Dad, Ted Rapp, was a ski coach who worked closely with Bobby, brother Patrick and many more young athletes. Jennifer for years ran a day-care business in her home, and in the process became friends with scores of parents and children.

This community knew the Rapps, took Bobby's death very personally, and have answered in very personal ways as well:

• A Sonora Area Foundation fund set up in his name last week drew $2,500 in contributions during its first 24 hours. Donations, by Bobby's wishes, will go to Sonora Elementary athletics, the Sonora High cross country and golf teams and the local chapter of Operation MOM.

• Dodge Ridge Wintersports Area will name a ski run after Bobby.

• Sonora Elementary School will name its annual cross-country meet the Rapp's Run Invitational, and its teachers, many of whom had Bobby in their classes, have planted a tree in his memory.

• Medal of Honor recipient Jon Cavaiani, elected the 2008 Mother Lode Roundup's honorary town marshal, will share the honor with Rapp and intends to lead a riderless black stallion up Washington Street in his memory during the May 10 Roundup parade.

The meaning of community, those same skeptics and cynics may say, has disappeared amid a mad and selfish rush for gratification.

But Bobby Rapp, his family and our community have proven them wrong.

Union Democrat editorial positions are formed through regular meetings of the newspaper's editorial board — Publisher Ron Horton; editor Teresa Chebuhar; managing editor, news Craig Cassidy; senior reporter-columnist Chris Bateman.

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UNION DEMOCRAT 01-21-2008

Union Democrat
reviews Operation Mom

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Program helps incarcerated vets
January 21, 2008 12:00 am

By ALISHA WYMAN

The Union Democrat

Jerome Lesesne, 41, fought for the Marine Corps during Operation Desert Storm.

Alex Flores, 48, was in the Army National Guard for 21 years.

Howard Wright, 52, is an Army veteran who served in the states during the Vietnam War.

James Poole, 61, was in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.
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While incarcerated at Sierra Conservation Center (from left), Howard Wright, 52, of San Diego, James Poole, 61, of Thousand Oaks, and Jerome Lesesne, 41, of San Diego, find solace talking to each other and other members of the Veterans Incarcerated Program. (Maggie Beck/The Union Democrat, copyright 2008).

Aside from their service, these four veterans have one more thing in common: They made mistakes that landed them in prison.

But they are now hoping the camaraderie they've found behind bars will help keep them out once they are released.

They are members of the Veterans Incarcerated Program at Sierra Conservation Center, a group that is just approaching its one-year anniversary.

In that time, it has grown from 21 members to 73.

The program's basic goal is to help inform inmates of resources available to them as veterans, which will help make their transition from prison to the outside world easier when they're released, said Sam Ramirez, an electrician at Sierra Conservation Center and a VIP sponsor.

Ramirez and Ed Bush, also an SCC electrician, decided to start the group for inmates thinking it would be helpful. Both are veterans.

"It just seemed like a well-worth effort on our part to become active," Ramirez said.

Members meet every other week. The program brings in guest speakers who provide information about job placement, housing, rehabilitation and other resources.

The group recently held a fundraiser at the prison. They sold meals from KFC and Pizza Plus to inmates, and donated the proceeds to Operation MOM, which sends care packages to servicemen and women abroad.

The raised $1,740 for the cause, and also gave inmates a break from their daily fare, said Poole, the program's chairman.

In addition to connecting veterans with resources, the program allows them to connect with each other and find a renewed pride in their service, Bush said.

"They are veterans their entire lives and only inmates for a period of time," he pointed out.

Lesesne, who has been at SCC for 14 months on a second-degree burglary conviction, has found this through the program.

"Because I wear blue, I'm reminded every day what I did to get into prison," Lesesne said. "When I go to that group, I'm reminded of what I did before prison."

While much of the inmate population is divided into groups based on race or where they are from, veterans are able to see past those divisions.

"There's a bond that we have that crosses some of the lines drawn in the sand by the other inmates," he said.

The program also aided Poole, both in recovering from the sorrow of war and in renewing his confidence.

When Poole opens his high school yearbook, it's a reminder that many of the faces smiling back at him went to Vietnam but never came back with him.

In years following his return, there was a stigma attached to Vietnam veterans, he said. They were called "baby killers" and scorned for their service rather than revered.

The loss of his first wife to an auto accident and the subsequent failure of his second marriage only fueled feelings of loss and rejection.

It's that feeling that headed him down the path to the crime.

Tears still come to his eyes when he talks about the war, but he's working with others to start over.

"It's emotional ties to the past, but it's helping us look toward the future," Poole said.

The group spans age groups and wars, but there are a significant number of Vietnam veterans who are incarcerated, said John Mendiola, vice president for the Sonora-area chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

The war's unpopularity, a lack of recognition of post traumatic stress syndrome at the time, and veteran's resistance to getting involved in veterans' groups may have contributed to this, he said.

Substance abuse was also widespread.

"A lot of us got our apprenticeship in drugs and alcohol there in the service," said Mendiola, an outside volunteer.

Wright began using cocaine starting in the military. The habit only grew after he left the service, until he was arrested for selling the drug.

Over the years, he told himself many lies justifying his addiction, he said.

"Being around veterans — this veterans group — we can kind of look at our mistakes and be honest about it," he said.

Wright is now a group advisor and does outreach to outside veterans groups and other agencies in which the inmates can find help.

That support can help prevent veterans from falling back into the environments that got them into trouble, he said.

Flores has been behind bars for seven years for assault with a deadly weapon.

Next month is the long-awaited end of his sentence.

He will go back to Corona, where his family lives, and hopes to go back to school to study business, he said. Someday, he wants to open his own restaurant.

As he transitions, Flores plans to use what he's learned through the group and get in touch with veterans who can offer him assistance, he said.

But his bond with his fellow incarcerated veterans won't be completely severed with his release.

"I'm going to miss these guys," he said. "I'm going to miss this group."


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THE INDEPENDENT

The Independent
reviews Operation Mom

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Kristin Ekvall assembles items to be placed into care packages

Operation: MOM Organizing
Limermore-Pleasanton Group

Operation: MOM is an organization with the aim of letting service men and women know they have the support of those who are at home.

The organization is based on the Blue Star Moms in support of the Marines. The current goup has been created to provide emotional support for all family members and friends of those military personnel on active duty. It includes all branches of the military.

Livermore resident Kristin Ekvall is helping to organize a Livermore / Pleasanton branch. The first meeting will be held March 3 at 7:00 pm at the Livermore library, 1000 So. Livermore Avenue.

Ekvall said when her son was sent overseas, she wanted to be able to do something. "Operation: MOM provides that opportunity". One way to keep in contact with the troops is to provide "A Touch of Home". This is being accomplished by assembling care packages.

Ekvall says, "This is something that is so necessary, a way of letting our troops know we at home support them.The packages are filled with all sorts of snacks and small toiletry items.

Last week, the organization prepared boxes that are to be distributed to those serving on two Navy ships stationed in San Diego. The goal Ekvall says, is to send 100 boxes each week to some branch of the military.
Fund-raising events will be planned in the future to help purchase items. Donations are also accepted.

Regular drop-offs ­will be scheduled over the the coming months. Ekvall says, "Think small, when making a donation".

Just some of the items needed include trial size sanitary wipes for hands and small bottles of waterless hand cleaner. Many of the troops Ekvall points out do not have access to shower facilities. Shaving cream
rather than shaving gel is needed. Ekvall says that gel requires more water to use. Lip balm, chapstick, sunscreen, disposable ra­zors, vitamins, kleenex, Q-Tips and more are being sought.

Food, in individual sizes, could include instant hot chocolate, tea, cup of noodles, microwave popcorn, dried fruit, Pringles potato chips, nuts and gum, as well as cookies or snacks foods that will not spoil and are
packed in tins or containers where they will not crumble can be sent to troops. Playing cards are also welcome.

Monthly meetings are planned by Operation: MOM in the Livermore and Pleasanton area.

Ekvall said the organization will need a location for drop-offs to be ­left, as well as a place to store items as they are collected. For-additional information, call Ekvall at 443-7841. Information can also be found on their website at www.operationmom.org.
Livermore Adopts Charlie Company

A brother company to the “Band of Brothers” has been adopted by resolution of the City of Livermore. “This is a tangible effort to provide personal support for our troops, to show respect and acknowledgment to those who protect us and our way of life” says Marilyn Carter, “Operation: MOM Tri-Valley”.

“Operation: MOM Tri-Valley” is sponsoring the adoption of Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) through “Americans Supporting Americans”.

America Supporting Americans, was borne out of an adoption created some 22 years ago. A young paratrooper (member of the 101st Abn. Div. Vietnam ’68) requested that the City of San Mateo, California adopt his company. That adoption enabled the men in his company to receive mail and support on a more personal basis.

“Operation: MOM Tri-Valley” is a local group of military families and others who wish to support our troops. “I don’t have a son or daughter in Iraq but if they are serving our country to protect me, they’re all my sons and daughters,” says Carter.

“Operation: MOM” supports our troops by providing CARE packages and letters, through comradeship with those going through the challenge of having a loved one at war, and information necessary to those here at home.

“Let me say that our city is anxious to get started with this program. We promise to do everything to encourage our community to participate by writing letters and sending “Operation: MOM” CARE packages. We especially want to hear from Livermore families who want their son’s or daughter’s name to be on a yellow banner on First Street. Please call and we’ll make it happen. The need to show support and appreciation seems almost as strong as our soldiers’ need for the support. Many in our community have asked for ways to help,” reports Carter.

If you have questions or want to become involved with Livermore’s adopted unit, please call Marilyn Joan Carter, 925-447-6221.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Mayor Marshall Kamena told councilmembers he had been approached by a group of citizens. They asked that there be a discussion regarding an event to celebrate that homecoming. The rest of the council agreed to explore the suggestion.

City Manager Linda Barton added that, in addition to yellow banners, the city is in the process of tying yellow ribbons on the trees in downtown Livermore.
FOLSOM 08-24-2005

The Folsom Telegraph
reviews Operation Mom

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Nothing shows you care like 100 minutes of phone time. Folsom Telegraph subscribers, both new and those who are renewing, have the opportunity to contribute to care packages being sent to American troops overseas with the gift of a 100-minute phone card. "Our subscription drive is geared to supporting our American troops for their valiant efforts," said Debbie Elmore, Telegraph circulation manager. "Every new subscriber within this program not only receives their local news, they also provide a G.I. with a 100-minute phone card to call home." The offer to send a soldier a phone card is good for current subscribers as well, Elmore said.

When customers renew their paid subscription for one year, a phone card will be designated for a soldier. Subscribers can choose between the phone card and an American flag. Elmore said most opt to send the phone card. The first shipment containing 245 phone cards will be sent out in upcoming days along with care packages sent by the Placer County branch of Operation Mom, a nonprofit organization that originated in Antioch. Bobbi Park, who started the local branch located in Colfax, heard about Operation Mom around the time her son was finishing boot camp and preparing to go to Iraq a couple years ago. "I located them because I appreciated what they stood for," she said of the group's nonpolitical, nurturing feel. "It just seemed simple and direct and I liked that." The group started locally as a handful of military moms who wanted to show their sons and daughters they cared.

They also asked package recipients to keep their eyes open for fellow soldiers who might appreciate a care package. "We've been told that you can watch your buddy's back out there, but you also have to watch their hearts," Park said. "What we're trying to do with Operation Mom is have a network that can support them when they're out there." Volunteers have met once a month since March 2003. "We sit down and put together packets, sending the troops cards and letters from various groups to let them know we care," Park said. "It's important to know that, no matter the politics here, the families care." Placer County's chapter sends an average of 50 to 100 packages a month overseas, "any place in the world that they're deployed and we have an address," Park said.

About 10,000 packages are sent in a year by all Operation Mom chapters. Park recommended that any Telegraph subscriber opting to send a phone card might want to consider a greeting card or letter as well. The Telegraph will pass along the letters and phone cards to the soldiers. "They love to get goodies, but they really love to get the letters," she said. For more information about Operation Mom, visit
www.operationmom.org or call group leader Dee Rein at (530) 320-4954. To learn more about The Folsom Telegraph or to subscribe, call 351-3748.

This can be seen on their website at:
http://www.folsomtelegraph.com/article/telegraph-sends-phone-cards-overseas-troops
FOLSOM

The Folsom Telegraph
reviews Operation Mom

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Operation: MOM is in crisis mode.

Group members are furrowing their brows at the drastic shortage of supplies they are preparing to send to local soldiers stationed overseas.

Dee Rein, group leader for Operation: MOM Placer County, said one of the main reasons for the lack of items is the demand has surpassed the supply.

When the group originally formed in 2003, it sent about 20 packages a month.

Today, the 30 or so volunteers who assemble at monthly packing meetings are producing more than 100 packages. On top of that, last month’s shipping bill was $1,700

Rein said when she heard not every soldier was receiving mail from home, she wanted to reach out to them.

“We found when we sent packages to one, there were a lot more in the unit who got nothing from home,” Rein said. “We took it upon ourselves to not only support our local kids, but we wanted to support their comrades.”

So now, when a local soldier receives a package from home, so do all of the soldiers in his unit.

Fellow Operation: MOM supporter Carole Park was taking inventory of the group’s stock Monday afternoon in the basement of the Colfax Veterans Memorial Hall. She shook almost empty boxes of razors, toothpaste, deodorant and more.

Soap bars and bags of coffee are about the only items the group has a surplus of, Park said.

The group has a list of donation suggestions on its Web site, www.operationmom.org. Rein said some of the soldiers’ favorite items are beef jerky, protein bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste and face wipes.

“Just about anything anyone wants to donate on that list we appreciate,” Rein said.

Both Rein and Park said the group doesn’t want to politicize their cause. Rein said she has encountered some people who decline to donate because they don’t want to give money to a cause they believe supports the war.

“When we have our meetings, we check religion, politics and especially our egos at the door,” Rein said. “When we come in we are focused on what can we do for the troops today — we’re supporting our kids.”

Park also added that whether or not the U.S. government should be providing these items to troops doesn’t matter to the group.

“We’ve asked that same question, but if it doesn’t, we will,” Park said. “Even if they did we’d probably still send them things because they need to know we’re rooting for them.”

Rein said she is looking for help from any venue. She said she is grateful to those community members and organizations to have supported the group, and hopes they can continue.

The group recently received some unexpected help from Colfax High School senior Megan Guyan. The 18-year-old decided last year for her senior project to focus on something that would help soldiers.

Her mother is in the Army reserves, and she also said there is strong family tradition of supporting the military.

“I’ve got a really strong Republican family,” Guyan said. “We really believe in what this country stands for and I just really believe in what we’re fighting for.”

Throughout the school year, Guyan has held several fundraisers for the group including selling Valentine grams and holding a bake sale. This Saturday a pasta dinner is the culminating fundraising event, she said.

To date, Guyan has $400 saved to donate to Operation: MOM. She hopes to be able to donate more than $1,000 after the dinner this weekend.

Putting the dinner together was no easy task, Guyan said. She estimates that she’s spent at least 50 hours talking to various businesses and asking for help.

“It’s been a struggle and it’s been hard work but I’m really glad I did it,” she said.

She called multiple businesses to look for donations for the silent auction and raffle. She also worked with other area business to help supply the food. Longhorn Meat Company gave her the meat for spaghetti sauce and Marie Callender’s donated six pies.

Raffle prizes include two tickets to The Ridge, a night’s stay at the Jackson Rancheria Casino, Hotel and Conference Center, two hours of limousine service and more.

She said she is excited to see the end of her hard work this weekend.

“The senior project is a great opportunity to not only serve the community but to serve the country,” Guyan said. “I wanted to do something to make a difference and actually have an impact.”

Rein said the group is immensely appreciative of Guyan’s efforts. She said people could also make food or toiletry donations at the dinner.

“This couldn’t have come at a better time because obviously we don’t have enough to put in our care packages,” Rein said.

The pasta dinner to support the troops will start with 6 p.m. cocktails with dinner at 7 p.m. The dinner is held at Sierra Vista Community Center on School Street in Colfax. Tickets are $15 and proceeds benefit Operation: MOM. E-mail Guyan at support4troops@hotmail.com for information.

For more information about what items you can donate to Operation:MOM, visit www.operationmom.org, e-mail Dee Rein at operationmompc@colfax.net or call (530) 320-4954.

The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment at auburnjournal.com.


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SMT

Sierra Mountain Times
reviews Operation Mom

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Flag bearers stand at attention after completing their ceremonial one-block march in Twain Harte.

Myriad events were scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, but Mother Nature and Old Man Winter conspired to alter everyone’s holiday plans. Friday was clear, and in Courthouse Park in downtown Sonora, a KKBN/KVML/Star 92.7 simulcast beckoned Mother Lode-ians to sign the Honor Scroll with messages of love and support for our troops. Meanwhile, Operation MOM collected gifts and non-perishable goods to send to the men and women overseas. Saturday and Sunday were awash, but Monday saw a break in the storm front. Twain Harte held their fifth annual flag ceremony near the famed arch. Tuolumne County Vietnam Veterans Chapter 391 presented colors as Cub Scout pack 71 handed out small American flags and patriot songs were sung. Moving speeches were made and the 2008 Memorial Day flag was raised in honor of the late Dr. David Minner, who was Chief Warrant Officer in the Army and was awarded two purple hearts, a bronze star and 37 air medals with “V” for valor. Dr. Minner, who was well respected in the community came to be known as “the town’s doctor,” passed away in 2005. His son, Josh, gave a moving speech. After the ceremony, the crowd marched to Eproson Park and enjoyed a hot dog barbecue. Monday’s big event appeared to be at Calvary Chapel in Soulsbyville. Eight inflatable amusements, including a bounce house, rock climbing and a waterslide, free concert performances as well as popcorn, snow cones, hamburgers, hot dogs and tri-tip! Estimated attendance: 4,000! Memorial Day was “cool” in more ways than one!
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Even in the chilly air, snow cones were popular! Preparing the treats are Joe Hart (left) and Robbie McMahon (center). Dispensing the delights is Cindy Wettengel.
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Performing acoustic ballads and Christian hip-hop is Heath McNease of Colquitt, Georgia. Heath records for 7spin Records, in Chicago, Illinois and is currently touring the West Coast. Meanwhile, rock climbing proved to be very popular as well.Wettengel
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Signing the Honor Scroll for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, with messages of support are members of the Jasmer family of Soulsbyville. “My uncle, Immanuel Ontiveros, he’s on a ship right now,” revealed Marilyn, age 10. “They just left on the USS Reagan, “ Lorraine (center) added. “I just feel really strong about supporting our troops; and want them to know how much we really appreciate them!” Also signing is son Jared, age 12..
CDA PRESS

CDA Press
reviews Operation Mom

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New local support group open to all service branches

POST FALLS -- Joannie Burnett doesn't sleep through the night.

Her daughter, Cassi, refuses to take a pendant with a picture of her brother, Chris, off her neck. It says, "God, Protect my brother."

Joan knows they're just a typical military family.
"He's my baby, which is a normal feeling for a mom," the Post Falls woman said of Chris, who is serving in Iraq with the Idaho National Guard's 116th Brigade Combat Team. "He's a young man, and now we're letting him go and be a real man. Those apron strings are hard to cut.Burnett and Chris' mother-in-law, Linda Varela, have started a local chapter of Operation: MOM, a support group for military families.

Not to be confused with the existing family readiness group for National Guard families, Operation: MOM includes all branches of service and is open to extended family members and any interested citizens.

"Our intent is to not replace, but work in conjunction with the family readiness group," Burnett said. "We need each other."

Burnett is also involved in the readiness group. Each group has its own unique needs, she said.

"We want to find other moms, dads, sisters and brothers who are experiencing the same feelings," Burnett said. "I'd love to meet these people, but I can't shake their hands if I don't know who they are."

The plan is to meet monthly starting March 18 at the armory in Post Falls. Those interested are encouraged to bring photos and mementos from soldiers. Information: 777-8541

Operation: MOM was started in Castro Valley, Calif., by a pair of military moms. It has grown to six groups in California and two in Georgia. The Post Falls chapter is the first in Idaho.


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MOTHER SPEAK

MotherSpeak
reviews Operation Mom

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In accordance with this mother’s request for anonymity, this family is referred to as Doe-a, John, Jane, and their children.

Jane and her husband, John, have four children: Sara (32), Mary (28), Bob (19), and Fred (17). John served with the 82nd Airborne in Vietnam and was an Army Ranger. Bob, following in his father’s footsteps, is serving with the 82nd. He signed up for a four hitch and intends to become an Army Ranger. Mary is in the Reserves and has spent ten years in the Army.

Jane: Bob left for boot camp in Ft. Benning on April 1st, 2003. The whole family attended his graduation in Georgia. I got the shivers when the new soldiers marched together through the trees, singing cadence; it was enormously touching and I was so proud of his hard work. After that, Bob went on to complete Airborne training and then traveled home with us, to northern California, for a short vacation.

Bob returned to Ft. Bragg, NC, in August, 2003. Just after turning 19, he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, on September 1st, 2003. It was his first assignment after boot camp and Airborne graduation. He’s due to return to Ft. Bragg in May, 2004, with the 82nd. But, with the way things are going, who knows if they’ll keep to that schedule?

I was a child of the 60s and marched in peace demonstrations protesting the war in Vietnam. I saw what happened to those troops when they return stateside. They received no counseling after serving, they simply left Vietnam and came back home. Not only was there no support for the troops after Vietnam, they were insulted for participating. They were called ‘baby killers’; I saw one fellow spat upon as he left the airport. And many of those soldiers were drafted! Back then, I swore to myself that, if I ever have a son, I’ll take him to the far ends of the earth to prevent him fighting in a war. I’m so afraid the tide will turn here, that the troops will lose the country’s support, and that the same thing will happen to our boys if this war drags on. I listen and watch carefully to detect any hint of that. I believe our troops spend time in Kuwait, resting and receiving counseling, before coming home.

Let me share an anecdote. Recently, in a restaurant where a group of soldiers shared a table, a woman nearby was talking loud enough that all could hear her – and the soldiers could hear her references to “those baby killers in Iraq.” A young mother carrying her child approached the loud-voice woman and said she was offended by the talk: “My husband is fighting in Iraq so that you can enjoy a nice meal in this place, worry-free. He’s fighting for me, for our child, for you, for all of our children.” After the loud woman left the restaurant, the soldiers approached the young mother and thanked her for her support.

I’ve noticed that folks in the U.S., who are not directly affected by this war, those without friends or family over there, can carry on without the slightest change to their lives.

I volunteer with Operation Mom, military mothers who package and mail things to the troops. Over Christmas a friend and myself raised funds to donate to this organization by reproducing a Christmas card from the 1970s. It was a design my friend’s father created during the Vietnam War, a dove of peace on top of a Christmas tree in the design of the American flag. A statement, indeed. We used the graphic on shirts too. I made a bright “Support the Troops” poster, complete with pictures depicting all of the military branches – no one passing could fail to see that poster – and I tried to sell the shirts and cards outside the local markets. I only sold three shirts, a few more cards. Most people didn’t even stop and look.

My husband is a vet and, while he rarely speaks of Vietnam, my boys know their dad served in the prestigious 82nd. Growing up they wanted to do that, too. I have a photo of Bob at four years, standing tall with his dad’s Airborne beret on his head. Bob carries his dad’s 82nd wings in Iraq. When he left for Iraq, he told me, “Don’t worry. Carrying these, I’ll be fine.”

Bob is very proud of his accomplishments with the military. And I am, we all are, very proud of him. Even with my doubts about war in the abstract, I’m so proud to see him grow into a responsible, respectful, and appreciative young man. Especially as he had a difficult time as a teenager (consequently, the whole family had a difficult time).

Bob was both excited and very nervous about going to Iraq. Before he left he went on a shopping spree to fulfill the Army’s list, special shaving gear and so on. He called on his cell phone, telling me what he was buying or asking advice. I wanted to board a plane and go to Ft. Bragg, to help him with his shopping and to hug him goodbye (I kept myself from doing that, though.) He also gave me a cell-phone tour of the his new barracks on Ft. Bragg. Instead of a huge shared bunk room – the image many of us have of military life – Bob shares with one other guy. I told him I’ll help him decorate on his return. It was so much fun to do that long-distance tour as he described the building, the passage ways, the grounds. When he had his last Chinese food meal before leaving, I asked about the fortune in the cookie; now I use the number (on the back of the fortune) in the lottery.

My youngest son, Fred, participated in the “early entry” program in high school. He wanted to join the 82nd too but couldn’t. He’s enlisted in the 101st Airborne and will go to boot camp in July, 2004. He’s 17. When Fred told Bob, Bob was quiet. Then he said, “Its very dangerous over here. I’ll talk to you about it when I get back.”

My daughter, Sara, blamed me for allowing Fred to enlist: “You should have stopped him! How could you allow another child to fight in this war?” She felt that his joining would only show more support for the war and was so angry that she stopped talking to me for a few days until she could deal with it. But we’re on good terms again. She’s such a peaceful person and she’s so worried about Bob; now she worries for Fred, too.

Bob calls every week. When I hear that distinctive voice on the line, “Hel-low Mama!” I shout with joy and everyone at home crowds around the phone to get a moment with him. Once he was shivering with cold as he talked; turns out he’d jumped out of bed at 3 a.m. to get into the slighter shorter phone line –there’s only one phone and all the guys share it -- wearing only slippers and underwear!

When he first got to Baghdad he said, “Mom, they hate us over here; even the little children hate us.” That really shocked him, that even the Iraqi children hate him and other U.S. soldiers. Sometimes I can hear in his voice how tired he is; but, most of the time he’s upbeat and joking around with us. At one point, in Baghdad, his group was doing 8 hour patrols searching houses, returning to camp for 4 hours of rest, then doing another 8 hour patrol. That went on for weeks. He was exhausted.

Sometimes Bob wants to speak privately to his dad. I don’t listen as I know something happened and Bob needs his dad’s counsel, something about the fighting. He’s very lucky to have a dad who has gone through similar experiences and whose wisdom he can draw upon. John is very supportive of Bob, reminds him that this is a job, not to let it get to him, that he’ll be home soon.

Bob is a saw-gunner, the guy with the huge gun on his lap facing the street from the back of the Humvee. Anytime an image arises in my mind of my child in such danger, I push it away. I have to keep positive. He’ll be back. He’ll be back soon.

I keep busy. Today I went around to all the high schools around this town and asked students to create cards and posters for the soldiers, happy, colorful posters to show our support of our troops. Operation Mom will send to them in the care packages to decorate their military quarters.

When Bob gets back, we’ll have a huge banana split together.


This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document
WOMANS WORLD

Woman's World
reviews Operation Mom

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MEDILL REPORTS 08-26-2009

Medill Reports
reviews Operation Mom

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Camp offers helping hand to military families
by
Chris Linden Aug 26, 2009



 Chris Linden/MNS

Capt. Richard Switzer, dressed in his Air National Guard jumpsuit, describes military deployments to the younger campers


 Chris Linden/MNS

 Katherine, with flag, seems distracted while waiting to start canoeing at Camp Sandy Cove. Both of her parents serve in the military, leaving her and her younger brothers to run the family farm



 Chris Linden/MNS

Jonah, 12, waits at the dining table for the afternoon's activities. His father is frequently deployed with the Navy


HIGH VIEW, W. Va. -- Katherine has a lot on her mind as she sits under a shady tree near the pond. The counselors are setting the rules for canoeing, but the 15-year-old doesn’t seem to notice. She looks distracted.

While she and her younger brothers—ages 7 and 11—enjoy camp this week, there’s much to be done at home. Both of her parents are in the military. Her stepfather, an air medic, is deployed again and it’s uncertain when he’ll return. While he’s away, her mother is busy with work, leaving Katherine and her brothers to pick up the slack.

She would like more time to work with horses, but it’s hard running the West Virginia family farm alone. Her brothers are still too small to do the heavy lifting, she said.

“This is probably going to sound weird,” she said, cracking a thin smile. “But it’s almost normal for us.”

Though it may seem normal, military life is no less difficult. It’s a big sacrifice for her family. Just talking about it, her eyes redden and tear up.
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MY MOTHER LODE 04-16-2016

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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In honor of Memorial Day weekend, Operation Mom will be in downtown Sonora this Friday from 11 am – 3 pm.
Pat Padavana, group leader of Operation Mom, was Thursday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day.”

This can be seen at:
http://www.mymotherlode.com/multimedia/newsmakers/operation-mom-honors-troops-memorial-day
MY MOTHER LODE 05-22-2014

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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05/22/2014 6:00 am PST

Mark Truppner, MML Reporter
In honor of Memorial Day weekend, Operation Mom will be in downtown Sonora this Friday.
Pat Padavana, group leader of Operation Mom, was Thursday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day.”

Operation Mom is a military family support group that began after September 11th, 2001. The two main purposes are to help support the families that are left behind and to support our troops by sending them letters and packages.

Operation Mom will be in Courthouse Park on Friday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. They will accept food items, solid items, socks and letters of encouragement for our troops overseas.

They are also reminding the public of what Memorial Day weekend is all about and asking all residents to take time to remember those who have given their life for our safety and freedom.

Padavana says, “We’ll be having pictures of our local men and women and we will also have a table of our local fallen heroes. People can come by and reflect with the stories and the pictures and they can also ask us questions about our group.”

Donations will also be accepted Friday for mailing costs associated with sending letters and packages to loved ones serving in the military. The next round of packages will be sent to Afghanistan and South Korea.

For more information about Operation Mom, click here
http://www.operationmom.org/whatabout.html

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45am.

See this editorial on their site:
http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/209004/operation-mom-honors-troops-memorial-day-weekend.html

Written by
Mark Truppner.
MY MOTHER LODE 07-07-2012

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Operation: MOM Food Drive
07/07/2012

Hours:  10am - 3pm
Location:  Grocery Outlet, Sonora
Contact:  Pat Padavana

Operation: MOM will be collecting food and snack items on Saturday July 7th at Grocery Outlet from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for our July packing.  We will be sending "Little Touch of Home" boxes to our troops overseas, these boxes let them know they are not forgotten.
If your a Veteran come by and receive a Flag Pin from Operation: MOM and sign up for the Veterans Discount program at Grocery Outlet.
Any questions contact Pat Padavana at 532-8051

MY MOTHER LODE 05-25-2012

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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May 25, 2012    06:00 am
Mark Truppner, MML Reporter


In honor of Memorial Day weekend, Operation Mom's "Day in the Park" takes place today at Courthouse Park in Sonora from 10AM through 3:30PM.
Pat Padavana, Group Leader of the Sonora Chapter of Operation Mom, was Friday's KVML "Newsmaker of the Day".
Padavana says Operation Mom is a military family support group that began after 9/11. Its main two purposes are to help support the families that are left behind and to support our troops by sending them letters and packages.
Padavana says, "We'll be having pictures of our local men and women and we will also have a table of our local fallen heroes. People can come by and reflect with the stories and the pictures and they can also ask us questions about our group."
"We will be collecting food and hygiene items to send to our troops overseas. We have a special request from the Navy Customs Team, they supply men that are coming home with a shower, t-shirts, socks and underwear all in various sizes, if you can help come by."
Padavana adds, "Everyone, before taking off to visit family and friends and enjoying that barbeque, take time to reflect on those who have given everything they have to make our freedoms enjoyable this weekend."
The "Newsmaker of the Day" is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.

Written by
Mark Truppner

MY MOTHER LODE 10-28-2011

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Sonora, CA — This weekend the Mother Lode will be celebrating Halloween with a number of events.
On Saturday, the 25th Annual Halloween Carnival will be happening at Columbia Elementary School from noon to 4:00 pm.
Also on Saturday, the Parent’s Club at Lake Don Pedro Elementary will be hosting a motorcycle ride through the Sierras called the “Spooktacular Poker Run & Breakfast Fundraiser.” The event starts at 8:00 am.
The Operation MOM Food Drive will be held Saturday from noon to 5:30 pm in downtown Sonora at Washington and Linoberg Streets. Food and hygiene items will be collected and sent to the troops for Christmas.  Also in downtown, it’s the return of Trick Or Treat Street. Shops will once again be setting up their storefronts from 4:00-5:30 pm.
Railtown 1897 in Jamestown continues its Harvest Haunt Express. Tickets are still available for Saturday and Sunday.
The Hi 4-H “Realms of Darkness”Haunted House in Sonora continues its evening showings at the Red Barn behind JS West Lumber. The kid friendly matinée is on Saturday from 3:00- 5:00 pm.
In Calaveras County, the Angels Camp Library Harvest Party happens Saturday from 1:00- 5:00 pm.
Finally on Monday, Soulsbyville Elementary School will have its Halloween Carnival at 3:30 pm, and in Jamestown, the Waldorf Halloween Festival is set for 5:30 pm.

THIS EDITORIAL CAN BE SEEN ON THEIR SITE AT:
http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/72482/mother-lode-celebrates-halloween.html
MY MOTHER LODE 05-26-2011

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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05/26/2011 3:31 pm PST

Tina Falco, MML News Reporter

Sonora, CA– In honor of Memorial Day weekend, Operation Mom will be in downtown Sonora this Friday.


Operation Mom Co-Chair Pat Padavana says Operation Mom is a military family support group that began after 911. Its main two purposes are to help support the families that are left behind and to support our troops by sending them letters and packages. 

Padavana says, “This Friday, we’ll be in Courthouse Park from 11am to 4 pm. We’ll be having pictures of our local men and women and we will also have a table of our local fallen heroes. People can come by and reflect with the stories and the pictures and they can also ask us questions about our group.”

Donations will also be accepted Friday for mailing costs associated with sending letters and packages to loved ones serving in the military. The next round of packages will be mailed in August.

Padavana adds, “Everyone, before taking off to visit family and friends and enjoying that barbeque, take time to reflect on those who have given everything they have to make our freedoms enjoyable this weekend.”

Written by tina.falco@mlode.com

THIS EDITORIAL CAN BE SEEN ON THEIR SITE AT:
http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/70064/in-the-park-with-operation-mom.html
MY MOTHER LODE 05-28-2010

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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May 28, 2010    01:10 pm
B.J. Hansen, MML Reporter

Sonora, CA - Community members took time to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day. Operation Mom hosted a ceremony Friday morning at Courthouse Park in Sonora. Musical entertainment was provided by students from Sonora Elementary, Sonora High School and Summerville High School. Speakers included Pat Padavana and Jennifer Rapp from Operation Mom, local veteran Frank Smart and others.

The central message, that while Memorial Day weekend is a time to barbecue and have fun with family, it is still important to take time to reflect on the men and women who have fought for freedom.

Visitors also took time to sign a scroll that will be sent to troops that are fighting overseas.

Written by bjhansen@mlode.com.


This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document

MY MOTHER LODE 07-16-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Operation MOM Back In Action Saturday

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 04:00 PM
Bill Johnson
MML News Director

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Pat Padavana of Operation MOM with flag and citation from U.S. troops in Iraq.

Sonora, CA -- From 10am until 4pm Saturday Operation MOM will be stationed at Courthouse Park to collect items for military personnel in Iraq.

Following the Memorial Honor Role event May 23 Operation MOM sent packages of personal hygiene items and other supplies to Marine Captain Shawn Doheny.

Shortly thereafter another Marine base was literally destroyed by fire. All personal belongings were lost. Dohney's unit then sent the packages received from Operation MOM to the other unit.

Now Operation MOM would like to backfill those items as soon as possible. Packages will also be sent to the Marine Unit struck by fire.

Cash is also always welcome to handle postage for the cartons.

Written by bill.johnson@mlode


This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document
MY MOTHER LODE 06-25-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Honor Roll Arrives Safely At Camp Fallujah In Iraq
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - 05:45 AM
Bill Johnson - MML News Director

Honor Scroll arrives at Camp Fallujah in Iraq

Sonora, CA -- Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of Mother Lode residents and Operation MOM, the Honor Roll scroll that was signed on Friday, May 23 at Courthouse Park has arrived at Camp Fallujah in Iraq.

The Honor Scroll was mailed from Sonora Wednesday, June 11. Operation MOM Co-Chair Pat Padavana is hopeful the scroll will be sent to other bases in Iraq. The second scroll has been sent to Afghanistan.

Along with the pictures, Padavana received this note from Captain Shaun W. Doheney, USMC: Honor Role displayed at Camp Fallujah in Iraq
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Dear Pat:

The Honor Scroll has safely arrived at Camp Fallujah, Iraq. Attached are some photos that I believe you will enjoy.
My Company First Sergeant and I will find a place where we can display the Honor Scroll for others to read and enjoy.

Thank you, again, for your tremendous support of Headquarters Company, Regimental Combat Team 1 and all those serving here in Iraq. The outpouring of support from the wonderful people of Tuolumne and Calaveras counties is very heartwarming and greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Honor Role displayed at Camp Fallujah in Iraq

Semper Fidelis and God Bless,

Captain Shaun W. Doheney,
USMC, Company Commander,
HQCO, RCT-1, Unit 40145,
FPO AP 96426-0145

Written by bill.johnson@mlode.comy.


This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document
MY MOTHER LODE 06-16-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Mother Lode Round-Up Parade Part 3

Uploaded on Jun 16, 2008
Included in part 3 are the Shriner Clowns, Randi Murry Dance Studio, Hurst Ranch Supply, Curtis Creek Band, and Operation Mom

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MY MOTHER LODE 06-02-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Operation MOM Strikes Gold
Monday, June 02, 2008 - 04:00 PM

Bill Johnson
MML News Director


Sonora, CA -- At first glance Operation MOM raised approximately $2,000 during the six hour Memorial Honor Role Day event at Courthouse Park on May 23.

Now comes word from Co-Chair Pat Padavana that $3,965 was actually raised that Friday. Add that to the $1,271 check from the Sonora Area Foundation and you have a grand total of $5,236.

Padavana says the funds will be used for postage for upcoming mailings to military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. The next event for Operation MOM is another "packing day" set for Saturday June 14th from 9am to 1pm at the Veterans Memorial Hall on Washington Street across from Courthouse Park.
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As for the scrolls, Padavana says one will be sent to Captain Doheny in Iraq. After his 420 Marines view the signatures, the scroll will be passed along to other units. Doheny has already promised that pictures of the troops and the scroll will be returned to Sonora as soon as possible.

bill.johnson@mlode.com


This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document
MY MOTHER LODE 05-31-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Mother Lode Round-Up Parade Part 2

Uploaded on Jun 16, 2008
Included in part 3 are the Shriner Clowns, Randi Murry Dance Studio, Hurst Ranch Supply, Curtis Creek Band, and Operation Mom

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MY MOTHER LODE 05-29-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Mother Lode Round-Up Parade Part 1

Uploaded on Jun 16, 2008
Included in part 3 are the Shriner Clowns, Randi Murry Dance Studio, Hurst Ranch Supply, Curtis Creek Band, and Operation Mom

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MY MOTHER LODE 05-23-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Families and friends will pause this weekend to remember loved ones who have passed at services across the valley and foothills.

Sonora and Manteca get a jump on Memorial Weekend with activities today.

First Assembly of God Church in Manteca will present the first of three weekend performances of "Not Forgotten" at 6 p.m. In Sonora, Clarke Broadcasting is sponsoring pro-troop activities including an honor roll to be sent to serving military personnel as well as a collection of small necessities for those overseas.

Saturday, the Manteca church will dedicate a traveling tribute to those who have lost their lives since Sept. 11. It also will hold a welcome home fireworks show dedicated to soldiers at 8 p.m.

Sunday, the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery offers it annual tribute with a theme of remembering the Navy's sacrifices at sea. A World War II submariner is scheduled to be master of ceremonies.

Monday, U.S. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, will speak at Lakewood Memorial Park in Hughson at 11 a.m., along with Gold Star father Michael Anderson Sr.

At the Columbia City Cemetery, the Tuolumne Rangers will be remembered in dramatizations beginning at 10 a.m. The historic tableaus will honor the Rangers for their service in the Civil War.

The Vietnam Moving Wall Memorial will be in Stockton next week. The ribbon cutting will be at Weber Point Event Center on Thursday at 4 p.m. A special program honoring veterans will be held May 30 at noon. The Wall will move on June 2. For more information, call 476-1373 or 598-3128.

The local schedule:
TODAY

SONORA: Support Our Troops, Courthouse Park, Washington Street, across from the Veterans Memorial Hall and Military Museum in downtown. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. sponsored by Clarke Broadcasting, AM1450 KVML, Star 92.7 KZSQ, Today's Country 93.5 KKBN and MyMotherLode.com. People are invited to sign an honor roll that will be sent to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. A live broadcast will be on KVML-KZSQ-KKBN. Operation Mom will collect items for troops, such as food treats, personal hygiene items, books, puzzles, etc. 533-1450, www.MyMotherLode.com.

MANTECA: First Assembly of God Church, 486 Button Ave. 6:30 p.m. "Not Forgotten," drama/musical presentation. 239-1371 or www.thememorialweekend.com.

SATURDAY
MANTECA: First Assembly of God Church, 486 Button Ave. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. "The Welcome Home Heroes Traveling Tribute" bears the names of 4,511 men and women and will be housed beneath a 16,000-square-foot cover. The memorial will be dedicated at 4 p.m. Classic car show at 9 a.m., a parade honoring the Gold Star families at 3:15 p.m., the evening performance of "Not Forgotten" at 6:30 p.m., and fireworks celebrating the safe return of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan at approximately 8 p.m. 239-1371 orwww.thememorialweekend.com.

SUNDAY
MODESTO: River Ranch Church offers services, family activities, Gold Star family honor, flag ceremony, barbecue, rockwall, water slide, music, jumphouses, police and fire vehicles. It's at 10:45 a.m., Modesto Christian School, 5755 Sisk Road. Fun begins at noon. 529-8900, 402-6991.

MANTECA: First Assembly of God Church, 486 Button Ave. 10 a.m. "Not Forgotten" drama/musical presentation. 239-1371 or www.thememorialweekend.com.

SANTA NELLA: San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, 32053 W. McCabe Road. Starts at 11 a.m. Guest speaker: Steve Muro, director of field operations for the national cemetery. Lemoore Naval Air Station will present the colors for all branches of service and will provide a rifle salute. Fresno Stag and Thistle Band. Marsha Silva. Wreath laying by Gold Star mothers and wives. Joe Cox, representing World War II submariners, will be master of ceremonies. 854-1040, ext. 107.

MONDAY
MODESTO: Seventh Street Bridge. 9 a.m. Flowers dropped into Tuolumne River in memory of military personnel lost at sea. 664-1599. 529-8192

MODESTO: St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery chapel, 1141 Scenic Drive. A 9 a.m. Mass in English and an 11 a.m. Mass in Spanish. Rev. Khoi Pham and Father Ernesto Arbelaez.

MODESTO: Acacia Memorial Park, 801 Scenic Drive, 11 a.m. 522-0452.

TURLOCK: Turlock Memorial Park, Soderquist Road and West Main Avenue. 10 a.m. Scheduled speakers include Turlock Mayor John Lazar and City Councilman Kurt Vander Weide. 632-9111.

CERES: Ceres Memorial Park, Whitmore Avenue west of Highway 99. On Saturday, 8 a.m. crosses are placed on graves by Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion volunteers. Monday, 6 a.m., avenue of flags placed. Volunteers are welcome to arrive at 5:30 a.m. to help set up the Avenue of Flags. Memorial service at 10 a.m. to include pinning poppies on wreaths in memory of those lost in war; color guard; and rifle salute. Mayor Anthony Cannella will be featured speaker. 538-3432.

NEWMAN: Hills Ferry Cemetery, Stuhr and Draper roads, west of Highway 33. 11 a.m. 854-3488.

HUGHSON: Lakewood Memorial Park, 900 Santa Fe Ave., between Empire and Hughson, 1 p.m. Al Menshew, state veterans legislative representative for the American Legion, master of ceremonies. Gold Star father Michael Anderson Sr. and U.S. Rep. Dennis Cardoza of Merced will speak. Bagpipes and bugler. 21-gun salute. 883-4465, 664-1599

MERCED: District Cemetery, 1300 B St. 10 a.m. Guest speaker: Randy Wharton, American Legion National Executive Committee. Wreath laying, rifle salute, taps. 723-1169 or 722-0940.

TURLOCK: Turlock Community Auditorium, 1574 E. Canal Drive, 1 to 5:30 p.m. Memorial Day Gospel Fest. $12 advance, $15 at door, children younger than 12 and students free. Tickets at Beardsley's in Modesto and Family Bible in Turlock. 538-3838.

COLUMBIA: The Columbia Dragoons will re-enact historical events from Tuolumne Rangers, Civil War volunteers. 10 a.m. Columbia City Cemetery, Columbia. Free. 533-3663.

TWAIN HARTE: Downtown, 11:30 a.m. parade. Honoring veterans with flag-raising ceremony at arch and free hot dog picnic at Eproson Park. 586-4482.


Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/news/local/article3107822.html#storylink=cpy

This article can be seen one their website at: http://www.modbee.com/news/local/article3107822.html
MY MOTHER LODE 05-23-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Sonora, CA — At first glance Operation MOM raised approximately $2,000 during the six hour Memorial Honor Role Day event at Courthouse Park on May 23.
Now comes word from Co-Chair Pat Padavana that $3,965 was actually raised that Friday. Add that to the $1,271 check from the Sonora Area Foundation and you have a grand total of $5,236.
Padavana says the funds will be used for postage for upcoming mailings to military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. The next event for Operation MOM is another “packing day” set for Saturday June 14th from 9am to 1pm at the Veterans Memorial Hall on Washington Street across from Courthouse Park.

As for the scrolls, Padavana says one will be sent to Captain Doheny in Iraq. After his 420 Marines view the signatures, the scroll will be passed along to other units. Doheny has already promised that pictures of the troops and the scroll will be returned to Sonora as soon as possible.
Bill Johnson

This can be seen on their website at:
http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/85056/operation-mom-strikes-gold.html
MY MOTHER LODE 05-09-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Operation MOM To Fly U.S. Flag From Iraq In Saturday’s Parade
05/09/2008 12:00 pm PST

Bill Johnson, MML News Director

Sonora, CA — Operation MOM will be flying a flag presented to the group by Captain Doheny, Headquarters Company, Regimental Combat Team 1 in Iraq in Saturday´s Mother Lode Round Up Parade.
Co-Chair Pat Padavana has received a flag that flew in Iraq and a certificate of appreciation for the support Operation MOM has shown military personnel in Iraq.
Padavana feels the flag and the citation are really a “thank you” to all of those who have donated items to Operation MOM in behalf of U.S. Troops. 88 boxes of “goodies” from Tuolumne County were recently sent to Doheny´s Marines.

Operation MOM sends clothing, toiletry items, CD´s, DVD, hard candies and other non-perishables to military personnel on a regular basis. The group also accepts cash donations that are utilized for postage.
Operation MOM´s will be entry #54 in tomorrow´s parade which starts at 10am.
Written by
Bill Johnson

This can be seen on their website at:
http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/85398/operation-mom-to-fly-us-flag-from-iraq-in-saturdays-parade.html
MY MOTHER LODE 03-10-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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Rapp Procession Set For Friday
Monday, March 10, 2008 - 03:00 PM

Bill Johnson
MML News Director

Sonora, CA -- The procession and funeral plans have now been finalized for fallen Army Sgt. Bobby Rapp of Sonora.

The 22 year old Sonora High graduate and his family will have a procession that will start at approximately 9am Friday on Lyons Street. According to CHP Officer Tom Wills the procession will proceed to Stewart, to Elkin and then to Washington St.

From there the procession will travel to Hwy 108 and head east to the Mono Way exit. Tuolumne Rd. will take the procession to Sierra Bible Church where the service is scheduled to start at 10am.


Burial will then take place at Dambacher Cemetary.

Rapp was killed one week ago today by a suicide bomber while guarding a government building in the Sabari District of Afghanistan.

From 10am until noon Sunday Operation MOM adorned the downtown Sonora area with yellow bows in honor of the Mother Lode's fallen soldier.

Written by bill.johnson@mlode.com


This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document
MY MOTHER LODE 03-05-2008

MyMotherload
reviews Operation Mom

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> Operation:MOM Scholarship Fund
Operation:MOM Scholarship Fund

By Emma Victoria G. Blanco
Operation:MOM, a non-profit organization based in Castro Valley, whose mission is to support the family and friends of the men and women serving in the U.S. Military, is proud to present the launch of its annual Scholarship Fund. The Operation: MOM Scholarship Fund will assist the dependents of U.S. Military needing financial assistance for college or vocational education.


The Scholarship Fund will contribute to Operation: MOM's overall mission of supporting the families of all branches of the military. "Students across the country can apply as long as they meet the application criteria," said Linda Little, retired high school teacher of 34 years, two-time Masonic Teacher of the Year and one of three educators that make up the Operation: MOM Scholarship Advisory Board, which will manage the scholarship program. "We hope to receive a lot of applications this first year," Little added.

To apply, candidates must be a dependent of a U.S. military parent, veteran or legal guardian, have a minimum 3.0 cumulative high school grade point average, and be currently enrolled at an accredited college, university or vocational school. There are no restrictions on race, religion, sex, branch of service of parent or guardian, or geographic location.

The selection process will involve review of the applications and interviews in person or via telephone. Once the Board receives confirmation of the scholarship recipient's enrollment, the scholarship award will be deposited with the school and may be used for tuition and/or books. Depending on funds available and the number of qualified applicants, a minimum of one and maximum of three $1,500 scholarships will be awarded. The application deadline is Tuesday, April 1.

For the application form and more information about the Operation: MOM Scholarship Fund, as well as programs such as Little Touch of Home and the Wounded Hero Fund, visit www.operationmom.org.

March 5, 2008

This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document

MILITARY INFO 08-02-2004

MilitaryInfo.com
reviews Operation Mom

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August 02, 2004

Military News
San Quentin Inmates Join 'Operation Mom' to Support Troops
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

August 02, 2004 - WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2004 — About 50 military veterans in California's San Quentin State Prison joined forces with volunteers from "Operation Mom" over the weekend to wrap 430 care packages for shipment to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Vietnam Veterans Group of San Quentin worked side by side with members of Operation Mom, a support group based in the San Francisco Bay area, to wrap boxes of hygiene items, snacks and letters of encouragement.

The San Quentin group, made up of honorably discharged Vietnam veterans, saw television coverage of Operation Mom earlier this year and donated money and supplies to the cause. The inmates also routinely send donation-request letters to businesses, according to Gloria Godchaux, president of Operation Mom.

Godchaux, who was hurrying to the post office today to ship the packages, called the joint effort a great example of community support for America's troops.

While shipping care packages for deployed troops is an important part of Operation Mom's effort, Godchaux said, the group's primary focus is on support for families, friends and loved ones of members of the U.S. armed forces. Operation Mom groups — three in California and one in Georgia -- gather once or twice a month to lend comfort and support to parents, spouses, family members and friends of those serving in the military, whether stateside or overseas.

Most group members have children or loved ones serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, and Operation Mom offers a forum for them to share their fears about their loved ones and encourage each other to be strong, Godchaux explained.

"I didn't realize what a huge need there was for that kind of support," said Godchaux, who founded the group with a friend after Sept. 11, 2001, when she learned that her son, Marine Corps Cpl. Kevin Godchaux, was about to deploy to Southwest Asia. "It gives people a safe place where they can come and express their concerns and fears without letting their kids know how worried they are."

Godchaux said Operation Mom groups often invite guest speakers to their meetings and plan activities such as writing cards and letters to the troops or planning fundraising activities for their "A Little Touch of Home" care package program. But the primary focus, she said, is always on sharing and networking.

"We have to keep ourselves emotionally, mentally and physically healthy to be ready to support our kids when they come home," she said. "None of us fully understands what they have been through."

Although her son left the military in late July, Godchaux said she remains committed to Operation Mom. She has another son who plans to join the military after graduating from high school next year, and she said she knows there's a tremendous need among people with family members and loved ones serving in the military.

"I want to be here to help people through the hard times," she said. "And I've found when you give, you get so much back in return."

This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document

DEFEND AMERICA 08-02-2004

Defend America
reviews Operation Mom

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San Quentin Inmates Join 'Operation Mom' to Support Troops
By Donna Miles

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2004 — About 50 military veterans in California's San Quentin State Prison joined forces with volunteers from "Operation Mom" over the weekend to wrap 430 care packages for shipment to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Vietnam Veterans Group of San Quentin worked side by side with members of Operation Mom, a support group based in the San Francisco Bay area, to wrap boxes of hygiene items, snacks and letters of encouragement.

The San Quentin group, made up of honorably discharged Vietnam veterans, saw television coverage of Operation Mom earlier this year and donated money and supplies to the cause. The inmates also routinely send donation-request letters to businesses, according to Gloria Godchaux, president of Operation Mom.

Godchaux, who was hurrying to the post office today to ship the packages, called the joint effort a great example of community support for America's troops.

While shipping care packages for deployed troops is an important part of Operation Mom's effort, Godchaux said, the group's primary focus is on support for families, friends and loved ones of members of the U.S. armed forces. Operation Mom groups — three in California and one in Georgia -- gather once or twice a month to lend comfort and support to parents, spouses, family members and friends of those serving in the military, whether stateside or overseas.

Most group members have children or loved ones serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, and Operation Mom offers a forum for them to share their fears about their loved ones and encourage each other to be strong, Godchaux explained.

"I didn't realize what a huge need there was for that kind of support," said Godchaux, who founded the group with a friend after Sept. 11, 2001, when she learned that her son, Marine Corps Cpl. Kevin Godchaux, was about to deploy to Southwest Asia. "It gives people a safe place where they can come and express their concerns and fears without letting their kids know how worried they are."

Godchaux said Operation Mom groups often invite guest speakers to their meetings and plan activities such as writing cards and letters to the troops or planning fundraising activities for their "A Little Touch of Home" care package program. But the primary focus, she said, is always on sharing and networking.

"We have to keep ourselves emotionally, mentally and physically healthy to be ready to support our kids when they come home," she said. "None of us fully understands what they have been through."

Although her son left the military in late July, Godchaux said she remains committed to Operation Mom. She has another son who plans to join the military after graduating from high school next year, and she said she knows there's a tremendous need among people with family members and loved ones serving in the military.

"I want to be here to help people through the hard times," she said. "And I've found when you give, you get so much back in return."

This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document
PEACE CORPS

Peace Corps
reviews Operation Mom

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Barbados RPCV Lynn Fisher works with Operation MOM
to support active military personnel

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Lynn Fisher who works with Operation MOM to support active military personnel. Fisher's gaze lingers over a photo of her son, and a rush of pride comes over her. "I'm proud of Joseph, and as a loyal American, I'm proud to allow him to defend what we believe in. When my son comes home, I'm going to have my friend create a big banner and my old Peace Corps friends will greet him when he gets in.

FORMER PEACE Corps volunteer Lynne Fisher thought she closed the door on her world travels with the corps many years ago.

Content to just settle down and raise a family, the Alamedan raised two sons and a daughter as a single mom. But her youngest, Joseph, was destined to follow in her footsteps.

"On his 18th birthday he went down and joined the Marines," she said sadly. "But anyone who knows us should not be surprised. My father was a co-pilot during the invasion of Normandy, my brother was in Vietnam and at age 17, my grandfather drove a Harley delivering messages to the front in WW I. One of Joe's ancestors fought in the Civil War and his uniform is on display at the Smithsonian Institute."

"I saw my Marine in January, just before he went back to Camp Pendleton. After our visit, I watched him drive away and then I started crying. After all, I may never see him again," she said regretfully. "I realize that it could happen. Something is going to happen to somebody's child. I pray it's not mine.

"I grew up in the 'boondocks' of Southwestern Penn- sylvania and attended the same high school with Joe Montana. I was so far out of the city that the only time I saw my friends was at church or school. While I was at Pittsburgh's Robert Morris University, Peace Corps recruiters came to my college. I filled out an application and later received an invitation to join the Corps."

Fisher began her Peace Corps travels on the Leeward Islands in Barbados, and later added countries like India, Guinea, Nairobi, and the Polytechnic Islamic Institute in Mombasa to her travels. She taught business courses to well-to-do locals in several countries.

"Once I left Mombasa, I went to India, Karachi, and Bombay and then I went up to Delhi and Katmandu. I later went to Calcutta. I just liked to travel," she said. "When I was a little kid, I was always looking at maps. I always had a globe and I was always telling everybody where I was going to go."

"Joseph has been in the Marines since 2000 and is on his second tour. He's not allowed to talk about things but it's ironic that he's tracing some of my steps when I was in that part of the world," she said.

"My son is willing to give his life for his country and that's part of the cement that binds all our mothers together. Operation MOM has brought some peace to the mothers," she said.

Fisher wonders why our local people are so divisive.

"I'd like to get more people involved supporting our children. It's distressing that local people are so cavalier about the war," she said. "It almost seems like they are trying to recreate the sixties and turn it in to just another public relations effort."

Fisher says some are ignoring the hurts mothers feel over their sons and daughters. "At the last Operation MOM meeting we started talking about our children and the tears just flowed," Fisher said. "We were all crying. I'm a strong person with a lot of support and it's great that we have a group that understands. We have a common bond. It's getting worse and worse. We hear about casualties and the shivers run up our backs."

Her resolve is fragile, and her stoicism lingers over the anxiety this war could take her son away from her. "I don't watch too much television because I'm afraid I'll see my son in a bad situation. But I'm grateful for Operation MOM. At least we can share our emotions. Each of us knows how the other feels."

In one of Joe's letters, he said there was so much sand you couldn't see the sun sometimes, Fisher recalls. He said he didn't have anything to write about, but he wanted me to know he'd be home safely this summer and not to worry. He said to tell everybody he loved them and tell Marion, (their 88-year-old neighbor), he said "hi."

Fisher's gaze lingers over a photo of her son, and a rush of pride comes over her. "I'm proud of Joseph, and as a loyal American, I'm proud to allow him to defend what we believe in. When my son comes home, I'm going to have my friend create a big banner and my old Peace Corps friends will greet him when he gets in."

Join Operation MOM in supporting our military sons and daughter. Log in on www.operationmom.org or contact Dottie at (925) 706-1736.

Longtime Alameda resident Mark Raymond Chandler can be reached at 521-8302 or by e-mail to indonesia9@alamedanet.net .

To see this article on their website, CLICK HERE.


PLEASANTON 04-04-2003

City of Pleasanton
reviews Operation Mom

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Press Release
April 4, 2003

The Pleasanton City Council has approved a resolution indicating its support for a local Americans Supporting Americans (ASA) liaison committee. ASA is a non-profit organization that coordinates local community groups with providing moral support to a specific or "adopted" military unit/ship. The local liaison committee has adopted the C-Company, 526th FSB, 101 Airborne division that is currently stationed in Iraq. If you are interested in participating or supporting the liaison committee, contact:

Susan Eddy (925) 462-1871
Carolyn Kirrene (925) 398-8179

You may also drop off any donations at the following locations:

Crown Trophy, Oakhill Shopping Center, Sunol Boulevard
R-Quest, 40 California Avenue, Suite H

In addition to the activities of the ASA, "Operation: MOM" is currently seeking donations for hygiene products, snack type food items and stationery and postage to be sent to military personnel in Iraq. You can drop off your donation at any of the following locations:

The "Museum on Main", 603 Main Street
"560 Main", 560 Main Street
Gene's Fine Foods, 2803 Hopyard Road

For further information on Operation Mom, contact:

Main Line - (925) 706-1736
Christin Ekvall - (925) 443-7841
www.operationmom.org


This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document
MILITARY OFFICER

Military Officer Magazine
reviews Operation Mom

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Thanks, Mom!

Operation: MOM has been activated to send care packages to U.S. troops around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan. The group has sent more than 15,000 packages, which are filled with snacks, toiletries, disposable cameras, and more.

Operation: MOM was started by Dotty Selmeczki with her friend Gloria Godchaux when Godchaux’s son left for active duty in the Marine Corps after Sept. 11.

The support group, with 150 members in four states, representing all the services, meets monthly so members can share feelings about loved ones stationed overseas and offer each other encouragement.

“We have to keep ourselves emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy to support our kids,” says Selmeczki. Visit www.operationmom.org.

MARBLE FALLS 04-04-2003

Marblefalls
reviews Operation Mom

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Local Girl Scouts Support US Troops
Submitted April 4, 2003 by Laura Turner

Members of Marble Falls Girl Scout Troop 472 met Thursday afternoon and stuffed care packages to send to members of our armed forces serving overseas in the current conflict. The care packages included tissues, wet wipes, gum, koolaid, candies, spices and seasonings, and a note from the troop.

They're being routed through Operation: MOM, a volunteer group in California that sends comfort items and care packages overseas through approved military channels. For more information on Operation: MOM, you can call 925-706-1736 or log on to Operation Mom.

To help local Girl Scout troops collect and assemble more items to send in next month's shipment, please call Laura Turner at 830-693-4017, or contact any local Girl Scouts that you know. The list of approved items can be found online.

back row, left to right:
Leader Teresa Evan, Mariah Turner, Rachel Schelde, Alysha Damico, Janene Damico, Leader Laura Turner

second row, left to right:
Savannah Norman, Sarah Mohamed, Celeste Guerrero

third row, left to right:
Briana Varns, Rachel Robertson

front row, left to right:
Trina Wood, Hanah Schelde, Jaymie Thompson, Cheyenne Peele

Not shown: Taylor Koska

Other troop members: Jordan Vann, Korena Torrez, Katherine Dillard

Photo by
Margaret Schelde


This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document
HAYWIRE
Haywire Magazin
CSU Hayward Alumni Recognizes Operation Mom
Gloria Godchaux and Dotty Selmeczki are co-founders of “Operation: MOM,” a support group for those with a family member or other loved ones on active military duty. For their work the American Institute for Public Service honored the two 1997 Cal State Hayward graduates with the 2003 Jefferson Award.

The Institute was founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Sen. Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard, to recognize individuals for their public and community service. Local Jefferson Awards are presented to “ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward.” When Godchaux and Selmeczki, both mothers of Marines, founded Operation: MOM in 2001, it was as a local support group. It has now grown into a non-profit organization with four chapters in California and one in Georgia. There also is interest in establishing groups in other parts of California and in other states.

Recently, one of the mothers in a local Operation: MOM support group received “the knock on the door that no parent ever wants to hear,” according to Godchaux, who said other members of the group “now are walking along side the fallen Marine’s mother and family during this difficult time.”

In addition to providing family support, Operation: MOM chapters also are supplying “A Little Touch of Home” care packages to those on active duty. The packages contain food and hygiene items and information on veterans’ benefits for military personnel. To date, approximately 10,000 packages have been distributed to those in every branch of service through military channels and the U.S. Postal Service.

“These packages don’t go to our own kids, but to those who may not otherwise receive anything from home,” Godchaux said. “We’re mothering other kids, as well.”
Operation: MOM has also has distributed “A Little Touch of Home” hygiene products to local homeless veterans.

Selmeczki is a Castro Valley resident who works at Thompson Pacific, a construction firm in San Rafael. Her son joined the Marines immediately following the Sept. 11 attack and is serving in the Special Forces. He already has served in Iraq and in September will return to fulfill another tour of duty there.

Godchaux, a resident of Antioch, studied industrial psychology and now works at Antioch High School as a consultant developing community involvement. (Antioch High is one of only two California schools to receive the School of Excellence Award for parent involvement.)

Her son was deployed immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, and for more than two months the family was told only that he was “serving somewhere.” When he returned home, he was able to report he had been in the Middle East. Currently he is at his home base in Hawaii and plans to receive his honorable discharge in 2004.

This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document.
VOLUNTEER
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Operation Mom is a national military family support group founded in 2001. We were formally recognized in 2003 as the winner of the Jefferson National Award for public service. Our primary mission is to provide a place where families of those serving our country can find support, encouragement, solace, and be with others who share their heart.

An outreach of our support system is to provide ‘Little Touch of Home’ packages to our troops serving worldwide. We have been actively doing this since 2001, shipping hundreds of thousands of boxes to wherever our troops may be stationed, anywhere in the world.

We make heart connections and lifelong friendships with the families of those serving our great nation, and help military families cope emotionally. We also have given financial assistance when and where necessary.

We also ensure that our proud military service members and veterans will never return home to indifference, ungratefulness or be unsung. Operation Mom is neither political, religious, for, or against any war or conflict.

The information above can be found on the official website of Operation Mom. For more details about the organization and to find out how you can volunteer, please visit their website: http://www.operationmom.org


This entry was posted in Castro Valley, East Bay, Veterans and Military Families. Bookmark the permalink.
EPINIONS 05-13-2007
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May 13 '07  
Operation MOM Serving with Silent Rank
Support Our Troops no matter how you feel about the War!

This is my first attempt at writing in the Writer's Corner, with
Mother's Day in mind I wanted to spread the word to all of you about a non profit organization called OPERATION MOM. I also wanted to share with you as a Mother what it is like to have a son in the Military.

I found
Operation Mom through friends I had met on My Space.

Operation Mom was started right after 9/11 by 2 Moms, Gloria Godchaux and Dotty Selmeczki from the SF East Bay CA. both had sons deployed at that time. They had real concerns for the safety of their sons and got together to chat and to give each other support, which prompted them to start a Military Family Support Group named
Operation Mom.

Operation Mom provides direct support to the families and to our Military personnel who are currently deployed. This group has chapters all over the USA and is looking for more members to cover every state.

I am currently a member of the Louisiana Chapter. Our Goals are to provide support to every family member who has a family member serving. We are looking for memebers to join and help organize fund raisers, attend monthly meetings, work together to gather donations from our community to send a little touch of home care packages to our deployed troops. Send Letters and cards of encouragement. Believe it or not some of our troops feel like they had fell off the face of the Earth when they deploy, but when they get a package or letter from a total stranger boost their morale.

Operation Mom through individual branch relief and support services will provide funds and information to assist families of active duty Soldiers who are having financial difficulties.

If you are wondering where to join this support group or How can you Help?

Visit their website at http://www.operationmom.org

Now on to what it’s like to be a Proud Army Mom:

My Son Jim went into the Army in 2004 Between the Love for his Country, family, friends and the effects of September 11 drove him to WANT to be a Soldier at the age of 16. I refused to sign the papers when he was 17 and had pleaded with him to finish his Education.

Today, I am so very proud of him and his passion to be a Soldier. Jim is 22 years old, has moved up in Rank to SGT. He has grown from my cute little boy into a Honorable and Courageous young man. After 3 years of Service he has already re enlisted for another 5 years.

He just recently returned from his tour of duty to Afghanistan and before we know it he will be leaving for his second tour. This time to Iraq.

During his deployment was the hardest time of my life.
When the day finally came for him to leave, I tried to stay Strong and hold back the tears. Not knowing what he was about to face and the thought of sending my baby off to war brought tears to my eyes and anguish to my heart, as he boarded the white bus to carry him along with so many others to the airport.

As the days passed I waited for phone calls, sat by the computer for hours waiting for him to sign on just so I could chat with him for a few minutes to know he was okay.

After my Son deployed I created an account on My Space to keep in touch with him. I had no idea at that time how much it took my mind off some of my worries and how much it helped me adjust to his deployment. I would go to his page daily to see when he last signed in, leave him comments and feel a sigh of relief when he would leave me a message in my in box while I slept.

I found myself addicted to my space, before long I had met so many other parents who were dealing with the same type of day to day stress while our Soldiers were away and in harms way. To me this was my on line support group

My thoughts and prayers have always been with our Troops since this War had started. In all honesty, it wasn't until my own son had deployed that it really hit home.

Wondering how all the parents, spouses and children dealt with their loved ones being so far away and in harms way.

I was feeling the anguish, worry and concerns wondering each waking moment what my son was facing at that particular moment. My heart was skipping a beat each and every day he was away. I found myself worrying myself sick especially when I did not hear from him for any amount of time.

I tried my best Not to watch the News, but sometimes it was unavoidable. signing on to the internet Headlines would jump out at me. Every time I learn of a fallen Soldier my eyes swell with tears and my first thoughts go to the parents and family members of that Soldier.

The entire time he was overseas I found myself jumping anytime there was a knock at the door. That was my worst fear. I hated that feeling, but so relieved when it was one of my neighbors stopping in to visit. There were times where I didn't hear from him for long periods of times due to missions he was on. I trusted my gut feelings to know he was okay. It took some time but as the time passed dealing with his deployment got a little easier, I kept myself busy and having Faith in our Lord helped me through another day.

What did help me most was shopping for him and mailing off care packages. Putting those packages together, knowing when he got them, I could picture his face lighting up. I would buy all sorts of things I knew he loved and sent more than enough each time for him to share with the guys.

I loved getting the phone calls saying Thanks Mom you’re the best I Love you and Miss you made my day!

Not only was I sending care packages weekly so was my daughter and my sister. We would laugh and say he has enough stuff to open his own store over there. We were just happy to help boost the morale of our Troops by sending as much as we could to make them feel better about the Sacrifices they were making for us.

It was extremely hard as the Holidays were approaching and special occasions went by while he was thousands of miles from home Enduring Freedom for another country. I missed him terribly I went through stages of depression.

I had many Sleepless Nights but before I would close my eyes I Pray for all our troops to stay safe and Thank them for the jobs they do to keep us safe. I appreciate that I can sleep in my nice comfy bed then have the ability to go about my everyday routine and live life.

On the day of Homecoming was the happiest day of my life since giving birth. Besides the Birth of my Grandchildren.

I was so anxious to see my son. As we sat in the gym awaiting the arrival of the buses from the airport I had tears of Joy knowing my son was returning home safely.

I looked around the gym I seen all the little ones holding flags and signs welcoming home their Mommy or Daddy. This time I had happy tears as I awaited their arrival.

Seeing so many newborn babies in the arms of their Mothers anxiously waiting to introduce them to Daddy, brought tears to my eyes.

Wow, I thought to myself If his Dad were alive today I know he would be just as proud as I am!
Then I realized how fast time flies, thinking 22 years ago I was holding my son in my arms as an infant, that I would of never thought then I would be sitting here waiting for my baby to return Home from a War.

Then the Music started to Play The Boys are back in town.... We all Jumped up and down clapped as our Soldiers so proudly entered the gym and stood in formation.

I couldn't wait to hear that command Soldiers you're "Released"... I ran to him hugged him so hard he said Ma I survived the Combat Zone in Afghanistan but I don't know if I can survive your choke hold....lol

All I can say on this Mother’s Day is God Bless our Troops. I am truly Blessed to be an Extremely Proud Mom of an Infantry Soldier, Blessed with my Beautiful daughter and Grandchildren that I have so much to be Thankful for!

Stop for a moment and Pray for all our Soldiers who can't spend the Day with their Mom today!

I do understand that many protest this war but yet we all have our Freedom to express what we feel because our Past and Present Troops have fought to Keep America Free.

Happy Mother’s Day!
Thanks for Reading!


Take a Moment to view this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ervaMPt4Ha0

The Bottom Line
ACTIVE RAIN
Bay Area Volunteer Information Center
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Last night I packed boxes to send to our troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There are almost 200 recipients in our group, 30 of whom are Marines. 
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One of the Marines is my son, Luke.  This is the last box I will pack for him.  He comes home in two weeks.
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The night before, Luke called from his FOB (Forward Operating Base) in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  He mentioned that he had just received one of his Operation Mom boxes.  He told me how important it was for his men to receive these boxes.  He asked me to share his appreciation with the Operation Mom volunteers, which I did.
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I'm also sharing his message with you. 
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At this season of Thanksgiving, please don't forget our men and woman who are so courageously serving the United States of America.  The male soldier pictured below, obviously a seasoned infantry man, is on his way back to Afghanistan for his third tour.  The female soldier, a medic, is getting ready for her first. Doesn't she look like a kid?  These are our children, going into harm's way to defend our country. 
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It brings tears to my eyes just looking at these soldiers.
I spent two Christmas holidays in the jungles of Viet Nam.  I can tell you how lonely it can be at this time of year so far from home.

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Yep, that's me.  Outside Chu Lai, Viet Nam, Tet Offensive, 1968.
You can Google Operation Mom and find a chapter near you.  This worthy organization always needs volunteers, contributions, and support of all kinds.

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In the Marines, back in the "Old Corps" anyway, we used to call these snacks "pogey bait."  I don't know why.  After a diet of "C-Rats" or what they now call "MREs" in the "Baby Corps" (that's a joke between me and my son), a box of "bait" is a mighty nice reminder of home, that special place "back in the world."   
While we're thinking about this, don't forget the Marine Corps
Toys for Tots boxes that are starting to arrive.  I saw the first one this morning at my local Starbucks.  New, un-wrapped gifts, please.
All Blessings on the men and women of our armed forces. 
Semper Fideles!

ARGONAUTS
Bay Area Volunteer Information Center
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This fundraising group went from door-to-door downtown looking for sponsors and donations
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Melody and EJ are a good fundraising team!
The other topic is a community service project we are doing.  We are doing a donation drive for the soldiers serving overseas.  We are giving our donations through Operation Mom, an amazing local organization who do all they can to support our troops.  If you are interested in helping them support our brave soldiers, contact:
Dee Rein, Group Leader Operation:MOM, Placer County A support group for military families P.O. Box 515, Auburn, CA  95604-0515 Phone:  530-263-0503 Website: 
www.operationmom.org
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Faith and EJ pass bags out for collecting donations for soldiers
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Melody returns from delivering a collection bag
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Andrew enjoys the walk
CV-63 12-22-2007

USS Kitty Hawk
reviews Operation Mom

USS Kitty Hawk CV-63
reviews Operation Mom
PRESS RELEASE
USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63)
Public Affairs Office
FPO AP 96634-2770

E-mail: paokittyhawk@cv63.navy.mil
Web: www.kittyhawk.navy.mil

For Immediate Release December 22, 2007
Release:
Kitty Hawk, 7th Fleet Sailors receive gifts of song

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Robert Pierce, Kitty Hawk public affairs

USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63), Yokosuka, Japan - Saillors aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and other 7th Fleet ships received more than 18,000 iTunes music cards Dec. 21 from "Music for the Fleet" program.

Cards were sent to USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Shiloh (CG 67) and the USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), all of which operate from either Yokosuka or Sasebo, Japan.

Music for the Fleet was organized by William Mallard, the father of Kitty Hawk Sailor Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Brandon Mallard, and member of Operation MOM, a support association for the military and their families.

Mallard, of Fremont, Calif., said the iTunes idea for the donation started with a 37 day Starbucks coffee shop promotion. Each day, Starbucks issued a card good for a specific iTunes song from artists such as Paul McCartney, John Mayer, Joss Stone, John Legend, Gloria Estefan, Keith Urban, and Bob Dylan.

"Near the end of the promotion, it dawned on me that Starbucks throws most of the cards out and nobody gets to use them," Mallard wrote in a letter to Kitty Hawk's Command Master Chief, Charles Clarke.

During the last three days for the iTunes promotion Mallard went to all the Starbucks in eight central California cities.

"I was so impressed and encouraged with the response from the Starbucks employees that I contacted Operation MOM," said Mallard, "They were ecstatic and put the word out to their members from all around San Francisco Bay area for the project."

"This is our way of say thanks for the awesome job that [the Navy] is doing" said Mallard.

"It was easy to download the songs" said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuel) Airman Jennifer McDonald. "The cards help me build up my music library and find out about new artists too.

"I think that getting these cards gives motivation and keeps sprits up, especially around the holidays," said McDonald.

The USS Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is on its fall deployment in the Western Pacific Ocean. The strike group is the U.S. Navy's largest and includes the carrier, seven ships of Destroyer Squadron 15, two Aegis weapons system equipped guided-missile cruisers and Carrier Air Wing 5. The ships operate from Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, and the air wing operates from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan. Together, they serve as the 7th Fleet's combatant force.

To find more news about the Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group, visit the Navy NewsStand at
www.news.navy.mil/local/cv63.


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CVN-71 04-18-2003

USS Theodore Roosevelt SVN-71
reviews Operation Mom

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CALAVERAS ENTERPRISE 11-12-2010

Calaveras Enterprise
reviews Operation Mom

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  • By Kate Gonzales Nov 12, 2010 (0)
There are two ways Mother Lode residents can donate food, cards and Christmas items to military personnel serving overseas this holiday season.

Operation MOM, a military family support group, will gather from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Hall and Military Museum in Tuolumne County, 9 N. Washington St., Sonora. Pat Padavana, who volunteers with Operation MOM, said people are welcome to drop off various items throughout the day, or can come help them pack the care packages, which will be sent off to overseas servicemen and women next week.

Items needed include postcards, pencils, pens, envelopes, puzzle books, travel games, toiletries for men and women and more. Food items to send include beef jerky (no pork), caned meat, Slim Jims, nuts in cans and small bags, etc.

Padavana, who has been involved with Operation MOM since it began in the Bay Area after Sept. 11, 2001, said the local chapter also has monthly meetings that friends and family of overseas military personnel may attend.

“It just (gives military) moms and dads and wives a place to actually talk about how they feel,” Padavana said. “They can cry, they can laugh, they can share information and they feel safe that whatever they say will not leave the building, and this is what they need.”

In Calaveras County, Kerry Ramorini and Foothill Community Church in Angels Camp are gathering the names of Calaveras County military personnel who are serving overseas. In December, Foothill Community Church will put together Christmas care packages for servicemen and women to enjoy and share with their platoon.

“We’ve been doing this for several years,” Ramorini said. “We get homemade baked goodies … and we buy phone cards. Usually we make a little Christmas wreath (for them) to hang on their bunks, and a Santa Claus hat, so they can pass out goodies and play Santa,” she said.

Ramorini said the goal is to provide the military men and women with a little piece of home and Christmas during the holidays. She said the Bret Harte Future Farmers of America donated See’s Candy, and about 50 to 100 volunteers donate time to the project each year.

Ramorini needs the names of Calaveras County servicemen and women so she can send packages directly to them. She asks that anyone who provides her with a name also give her contact information, so she can verify that person will still be overseas when they send the packages.

“If they’re coming home in January, they stop their mail in December and won’t forward it to them,” she explained. “I want to verify they will definitely be there.”

So far Ramorini has gathered about six names, but is still seeking more from Calaveras County.

Things people can donate include baked goods, money for postage, holiday cards, candy, nuts and other small holiday items. Each box will also include a Christmas card with a letter thanking them for their service and sacrifices.

“We want (them) to put on the Santa Claus hat and hand (stuff) out to people, so everybody can have a little bit of Christmas,” Ramorini said. “I don’t want to leave anybody out.”

Contact Padavana for information on Operation MOM or how to donate before Saturday at (510) 329-9397. Contact Ramorini with names of overseas military personnel at 736-2460.

Contact Kate Gonzales at kate@calaverasenterprise.com.
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