Friday, 14 June 2024

Efforts to support members of the military continue through the year

Operation Tango Mike founder Ginny Craven and Pearl Harbor survivor, Henry Anderson, who recently donated $5,000 to th effort. Courtesy photo.






LAKE COUNTY – On a recent cold, blustery December evening, several dozen volunteers gathered at Umpqua Bank in Lakeport for the monthly packing party to assemble care packages for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No one seemed to mind the fact that they had to drive in blowing rain and sleet to make the event, held Dec. 18.

Conversations turned to the harsh and bitter winter weather endured by our troops, including a recent e-mail from Afghanistan where the temperature had been a steady 21 degrees, which prompted everyone to include black beanies and gloves in the boxes they were packing.

Eighty-four boxes were packed with food, snacks, treats and hygiene items. Of course, loads of holiday goodies, greeting cards and love were packed into every one.

Every month, after the boxes are packed and tightly sealed with packing tape, they are shuttled into a hallway for special finishing touches. There, children ranging from toddlers to teens add stickers, decorations and notes of love and support to the outside of the care packages. No doubt, these messages truly finalize the “care” part of each care package.

It is a costly proposition to pack and ship 80 to 100 monthly care packages, with shipping fees alone reaching nearly $1,000. Somehow, it always gets done with the love, support and donations of caring Lake County citizens.

An example is a generous donation made by a local Pearl Harbor survivor, Henry Anderson.

Many months ago Anderson donated $5,000 to a cause he believes in because of his experience in life. Anderson served in the US Navy from 1937 to 1945, being aboard the battleship USS Tennessee on the day of the Pearl Harbor attack.

He was recently able to attend an Operation Tango Mike packing party, where he was thanked for his generous gift by parents and grandparents of deployed troops, veterans and troop supporters.

His simple reply was, “I’m just repaying some of the kindness that was shown to me while I was in the service.”

The gratitude expressed for the support often comes directly from the troops receiving the care packages.

A recent message was, “Merry Christmas, My name is Senior Airman Davielle Rodgers and I just wanted to take a few minutes and thank you for the packages that you sent over here. I was so pleased to have something for the holiday season and I was able to send some of the things to soldiers who haven’t received anything from home. I just want to tell you that it is organizations such as yours that keep us going. You have no ideas what an amazing feeling it is when you know people from back home are behind us. Keep up the wonderful work and I wanted to say again thank you for the support.”

Another recent message came from a military mom who wrote, “Dear Tango Mike, You don’t know me but my sister and her husband live in Lakeport and he just retired from the school district there and was privy to your tango mike operations for the troops. Our son has been stationed in Iraq for 15 months and has received your boxes both last year and already this year. Communications are limited, so on his behalf, I am telling you thanks for remembering our guys. This time of year is tough on them, especially my son and their unit as this is the second year in a row that they won’t be home for the holidays. Once again, thanks.” Elizabeth Conner, Lodi.


These messages serve to reinforce the resolve to continue sending care packages and support to our troops.

In that regard, 2009 Operation Tango Mike events are already being planned. Tips for Troops will take place on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009 beginning at 5 p.m. at Saw Shop Gallery Bistro in Kelseyville. Thanks to Marie and Jeremy, diners will enjoy pork chop, Chicken Toscana or four cheese tortellini entrees, with tips benefitting Operation Tango Mike. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 278-0129.

The wrestlers of Middletown High School are taking to the mat on Jan. 9 and 10 at the Middletown Mustang Invitational. The Mustang wrestlers have pledged to support our troops by raising money in a “take-down-a-thon” at their tournament. During the Christmas vacation, wrestlers are working to fill their pledge sheets with donations for every take down they score on the mat. Coach Troy Brierly is facilitating and organizing the fundraising to benefit Operation Tango Mike.

Anyone wishing to support Operation Tango Mike is welcome. Packing parties are usually held the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at Umpqua Bank, 805 11th St., Lakeport. Donations may be sent to 5216 Piner Court, Kelseyville, CA 95451.

For more information, contact Ginny Craven at (707) 349-2838 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Mother and daughter Suzie Defrancisci and Terra Seifert. Defrancisci's son, Chuck Cossette, will soon deploy for his third tour of duty. Courtesy photo.





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