LAKE COUNTY – The spirit of giving is alive and well in our community.
Volunteers gather at the monthly Operation Tango Mike packing parties at Umpqua Bank to fill boxes with necessities and niceties for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many of those preparing care packages have a loved one deployed in a combat zone. Others are veterans and others simply appreciate the service and sacrifice of our military.
No matter the connection to the care package, a simple fact remains. Every person present is giving freely of his or her time to do something very meaningful and special. The troops receiving the packages express their gratitude via e-mail, letters, telephone calls and Internet messages.
Andrew Hurd, a Middletown High School graduate, recently wrote, “The last couple boxes were truly touching with the x-mas cards and I actually plan on writing back a couple of them. I will be back in Oklahoma City on January 3rd, so you can go ahead and scratch my name off the list before x-mas time. I'm sure my unused package can certainly help those in more isolated areas. I've been very fortunate with my amenities here, but these packages have been a definite morale booster. I can't thank you enough!"
Jason Buzzard wrote, “We received your box!!!!!! Tell everyone we appreciate the box and the support! The Soldiers really feel appreciated!!!!!! God bless you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Alicia Cyr wrote, “I and the guys in my shop greatly appreciate it, the effect you have on other peoples’ lives is phenomenal! Please spread the word that operation tango mike is a real blessing out here!!”
Though these messages are merely a sampling of the troop response, the sincerity and gratitude of these messages appear obvious.
In celebrating the abundance in Lake County, Twin Pine Casino recently hosted the Harvest Grape Stomp. Silent auction items were donated by many businesses throughout Lake County, with the proceeds generously donated to Operation Tango Mike.
The Keeling-Barnes Family Foundation has contributed the troops’ happiness by donating to Operation Tango Mike as well. Wilda Shock recently attended a packing party, where she announced the generous donation to the delighted packers.
Every month, no matter how challenging the economy, there are somehow enough supplies, enough funding and enough willing hands to pack the requested care packages.
Through donations from businesses, community groups and individuals the monthly needs are met and the troops are grateful.
On Dec. 4, members of the California Army National Guard 649th Engineer Company departed Lake County. They have said their goodbyes to friends and families and begun the next phase of yet another deployment.
Lake and Mendocino Counties will be asked to support more of our own deployed troops and their families. Support comes in many forms, including cards and letters of appreciation and encouragement.
It is prudent to remember that while our troops serve in far away combat zones; families remain behind, trying to hold together some sense of normalcy. Spouses and children are left to wonder about their loved one’s well being. Families serve too.
It costs nothing to give a military family a friendly phone call, offer to do a small chore or simply let them know their sacrifice is also appreciated.
If you would like to become involved in supporting Operation Tango Mike there are many ways to easily do so. Items may be donated at any “Drop Zone Barrel” at businesses throughout Lake County. Donations may be sent to 5216 Piner Court, Kelseyville, CA 95451, dropped off at Umpqua Bank or on the web at www.operationtangomike.com.
Packing parties are held the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at Umpqua Bank, 805 11th Street, Lakeport. Everyone is welcome.
For further information please call 707-349-2838 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.