Service personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq get a 'Touch of Home'
Leigh Lombardo-Cole sings God Bless America prior to the magician and comedian shows.
Volunteers with "Operation: Touch of Home", a non-profit volunteer veterans' support organization based in Monroe County, held their annual Military Appreciation Entertainment Dinner recently at the Polk Township Volunteer Fire Company in Kresgeville.
The dinner and entertainment, which included music, magic show and comedy act, was provided completely free of charge to all Iraq or Afghanistan veterans and their guests.
Dean and Sharon Green started the support organization in 2004 in preparation of their son's deployment to Fallujah, Iraq. In reaching out, they discovered the immense impact it had on the morale of soldiers to receive items from friends and families at home.
Since then, the shipments of 110,000 pounds of essential items over the last seven years have touched the lives of over 900 service personnel.
The recipients typically share items with their whole unit, resulting in thousands of other American servicemen being touched by "Operation: Touch of Home."
"We do this to bring recognition to all men and women who've given time away from friends and family so we can be safe at home," said Dean Green, OTOH President.
Entertainment at the recent dinner included music by Leigh Lombardo-Cole and Kristal, a magic show by Mark Clark, and a comedy act by John Carfi.
OTOH is also involved with the Red Friday T-shirt project, in which people can show support for American servicemen and women who have served and are currently serving by wearing their own red T shirts or by purchasing a special red T-shirt.
OTOH, which relies solely on contributions, welcomes contributions for the troops, such as cookies, beef jerky, CDs, DVDs, instant coffee, tea bags, gum, candy, cup of soups, games, AA, AAA batteries, strong sunscreen, fly traps, fly swatters, colored socks, baby wipes, lip balm, foot powder and dental floss. A detailed list of items can be found on the OTOH website.
OTOH will also welcomes new names and addresses of servicemen and women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan to be recipients of their care packages. Contributions are tax deductible and are used in support of American troops serving overseas and abroad.
"As long as there is a need, this non-profit, all-volunteer group will continue to ensure our local Troops serving in war are not forgotten," Green stated. "We have asked that we all come together and help supply essentials to these brave men and women through several events, such as fundraiser's and mass essential shipments.
"Remember it's not what we send, it's that we send them 'A Touch of Home.'"
The group can be contacted by phone at (570) 977-1724, via Facebook, or their website at www.OperationTouchOfHome.org.
Monetary donations can be made out to "Operation: Touch of Home", P.O. Box 162, Brodheadsville, PA 18322.