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Columbia-based Veterans United staff members assemble care packages during the recent National Day of the Deployed (October 26, 2023 photo courtesy of Kerri Lotven of the Veterans United Foundation)

(LISTEN): Operation Gratitude praises VU for care packages head of Veterans Day

A national non-profit organization that supports U.S. military service members and first responders was in Columbia recently to help assemble about 1,000 care packages for deployed troops. They also helped hand-fill 200 Battalion Buddy bears to send to military children with a parent who’s now deployed.

Operation Gratitude national volunteerism director Vicki Johnson tells 939 the Eagle that Columbia-based Veterans United (VU) is a longtime partner with their organization.

“And in the past 20 years, we have sent nearly four-million care packages to say thank you to those that are serving our country whether it’s our military or our first responders. We’re only able to do that because of partners like VU that join us giving people in their communities and their towns an opportunity to come together to assemble care packages, to write notes of gratitude,” Johnson says.

VU employees were joined recently by Operation Gratitude staff and mid-Missouri veterans to assemble the care packages. Those packages contain snacks, personal care and hygiene products. They also contain a handwritten thank you note. Ms. Johnson praises VU officials and staff for their dedication during the recent National Day of the Deployed.

“We love the relationship that we have with Veterans United. You know they employ a lot of veterans, they understand what we’re doing and it’s important to them for their employees to have a way to give back,” says Johnson.

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