A holiday season of sharing and caring in the military community


By Donna Teresa The Monterey Herald

Every holiday season it seems the hearts grow ever bigger and the generosity is stronger, and that is a great feeling. Economically, I know it is tough for so many people; however, I hope you hold our men and women in uniform of past and present ever closer in your thoughts.

As I do every year, I have listed some special events, gift ideas and organizations I hope you will lend your support to. Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to our troops stationed all over the world and to all of our veterans here back home. I’m thinking of all of you as I do every day.


· Remembrance tree decorating at the Monterey County Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 10 a.m. Dec. 5, Memorial Hill in North Salinas, Laurel Drive and Constitution Boulevard behind the soccer field. Please join us as we decorate the remembrance trees to remember our fallen from the Vietnam War. Weatherproof ornaments are very welcome. www.mcvvm.org.

· Wreaths across America comes to Gustine at noon Dec. 12 at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery. Wreaths will be placed on veteran grave sites following the ceremony. Please contact Julia Nilos at 562-706-5592 for more information. www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

· Never Forget Our Fallen is a special organization coordinated by Deborah Getz, proud military mom of her fallen son Army Ranger Kristofer. She would like support for their annual Christmas Party for military children Dec. 19. Contact her at www.neverforgetourfallen.com.

· Operation Gratitude will be celebrating its 500,000 package party Dec. 19. This organization has been sending numerous care packages and lending troop support with extraordinary efforts. If you would like to help them, please contact the group at www.opgratitude.com.

· The Vet Signia Project, www.vetsignia.org, led by Bob Kline, a Marine who served in World War II. He and his veteran friends have created special metalized window stickers and magnetic vehicle plaques that honor veterans from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan. A terrific gift to give a special veteran to show their proud service.

· The Veterans Transition Center in Marina works year-round to provide emergency services to homeless veterans and their families and to find transitional housing. They’re always in need of money, canned food, linens, toiletries, blankets, sleeping bags and so forth. Please contact them if you can lend your assistance. www.vtcmonterey.org.

· The Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Foundation has been working tirelessly in its efforts to bring the very much needed veterans cemetery to Fort Ord. Donations are needed to assist with maintenance and other operating costs. Please contact the organization at www.ccvcf.com if you would like to donate to help in its quest to expedite the building of the cemetery.

· The Troop Greeters of Bangor, Maine, www.flybangor.com. Anytime of night or day, these kind people welcome home our troops from war and give a warm send-off to those who are leaving. No troop is ever alone when the greeters are around. Please support their efforts.

· The USO, www.uso.org, since 1941 has been providing services, entertainment and serving the needs of veterans and their families all over the world. Until every one comes home, please continue to support their outstanding work.

Donna Teresa can be reached at [email protected].


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