Friday, May 07, 2010

Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude started in an Encino living room.

Carolyn Blashek, after being moved by a soldier's story while she was volunteering at the military lounge at LAX, decided to go home, call some friends, and put together a few care packages to show the troops overseas that people back home care.
From that simple start, Operation Gratitude has grown into an enormous volunteer effort that has sent 550,000 care packages to date.

As an officer in the Navy Reserve, I was especially honored last night to recognize Carol with the 2010 Spirit of VIC Award for Community Service
at the Valley Interfaith Council's annual awards dinner, which was accepted on her behalf by Marty Martin.

Anyone can go to and submit the name of a service-member to receive a care package. The packages are prepared twice a year at the California National Guard armory in Van Nuys by 10,000 volunteers with the support of more than 300 businesses.
I also want to recognize the Vally Interfaith Council for its work throughout the year to help seniors in the San Fernando Valley. The Council makes a difference by delivering 150,000 meals a year to home-bound individuals; serving seniors with three multi-purpose senior centers, eleven nutrition sites and in-home care assistance; working with victims of stroke and other illnesses and impairments at four adult day care centers; and free "Handyworker" service to help low income seniors and disabled persons make their homes more accessible. More information is at