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Washington Operation Thank You: Supporting our troops, one care package at a time

Operation Thank You volunteers organize nearly 150 care packages for troops abroad every couple of months.

RICHLAND, Wash.— It's been nearly 15 years since the nonprofit Operation Thank You started packing up food, books, and other items with the goal of providing American troops some comfort during their time overseas.

Operation Thank You supports our troops abroad one care package at time.

"When we see a need, we try to fill it," said Romar Swarner, one of the founders of the local nonprofit.

Swarner said they fill their care packages with everything our soldiers need.

"Usually these things are above and beyond what the military provides," he explained.

Each box contains an assortment of snacks, beverages, coffee, teas, books, toiletries, and letters of support, games and fun items.

Volunteers, said it’s the little things that make a difference.

"We put jars of peanut butter, honey, personal care items, condiments," volunteer Rockney Stoddard said.

It costs roughly $50 to put together each package with shipping and handling. When the organization first started more than a decade ago, founders say they could only send a few packages at a time.

Now with gracious donors and community support, every couple of months, Operation Thank You packs nearly 150 care packages that will be sent to U.S. soldiers around the world.

These troops show their gratitude, time and again.

"Thinking back, and reading some of their letters, it brings a tear to your eye," Stoddard said.

Stoddard is also a veteran, and he recalls the hardship of being away from home and away from family.

"When I was deployed many years ago, a letter from home, it was, it was everything," he said. "I know when I first went to my basic training and I got my first letter form home, I broke down. You're never too big of a man to get a letter from home and your loved ones."

Swarner also reminisces about receiving care packages when he was in the service.

"I remember the feeling,” he said. “It was a little bit of home, a real pick me up," he said.

With snail mail, Operation Thank You hopes to boost soldiers’ morale across the globe.

The agency also organizes “Welcome Home” events for our returning veterans.

"All of those troops out there, thank you for your service,” Stoddard said. “And welcome home when you get here, we're looking forward to seeing ya."

Washington Operation Thank you is volunteer-run and all funds raised goes to supporting our troops.

Their nonprofit has a golf-tournament fundraiser coming up.

Annual Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, June 2 Canyon lakes golf course 7:30 a.m.

Registration information contact:

olygolf@gmail.com OR 509.947.5555

$100 per player (includes green fees, range balls, cart and a catered lunch)

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