Operation Appreciation reaches out to those far from home - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Operation Appreciation reaches out to those far from home

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV)- Civilian and military volunteers joined forces this morning in an operation to say thank you to troops serving abroad. Volunteers with operation appreciation were filling gift boxes for troops today at Saint Michael's and All Saints Church in Longview. Snacks, magazines, little items, but put them together and they're what lifts the spirits of far away soldiers.

"Why do we do it? Definitely to let them know that we love them we care about them, we support what they're doing," said operation director Linda Reed.

This time around volunteers with operation appreciation included active military. Guard specialist Michelle Horton did 2 tours in Iraq, and has a special connection to the operation.

 "Both of my tours in Iraq I actually received boxes from operation appreciation, to have something to have something new and different that we didn't get from home definitely was heart warming," said Horton.

Vietnam veteran Travis Garden remembers how soldiers were treated on their return home. He refuses to let that happen to his grandson in Afghanistan. "My grandson Craig from Iowa is in Afghanistan right now," said Garden. "It is very important for us to take care of our people. I wish people had appreciated us like they appreciate the army now."

For some servicemen, it may be the only thing they get from home. "It's very heart warming to see total strangers send you something," said Horton.

More than 300 boxes will be packed and sent to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"These boys out there are fighting for our freedom I know because I've been there I've done it myself," said Garden.

"I want then to know their not forgotten, that I will never forget the men and women over their that are working for us," says Horton.

The packages will be mailed on Tuesday. The Kilgore family of Marine Kenneth May who fell in action in May, organized a care package drive for this Operation Appreciation to help gather donations.

Copyright 2010 kltv. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly