It’s that time of year to acknowledge those who show great bravery and strength all year round. Children on Fort Drum got an early Christmas Saturday as Operation Tribute brought good tidings to the military families on post. YNN’s Carmella Mataloni tells us how the program spreads cheer to America's little heroes.
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Spreading Christmas cheer for those who deserve it most. That's what brought out 600 families on Fort Drum Saturday.
Operation Tribute is an appreciation program for military children 16 years and younger, thanking them for being who they are and for the sacrifices they make each day.
“We buy age and gender appropriate toys for each of these kids. We individually gift wrap them. We put a yellow ribbon on each one and a thank you sticker. Then individually package them to send to families,” said Operation Tribute Founder Marc Badeau.
Colonel Gary Rosenberg says that this program is a meaningful way for Americans to show the military their support.
“It’s a great way for our military to stay connected to the people we are here to support and defend. I think it’s also a great way for the American people to show their appreciation to the sacrifices that soldiers and families in particular make in support of the soldiers,” said Colonel Gary Rosenberg, Fort Drum Garrison Commander.
But the giving doesn’t just stop at Fort Drum's post. While 1,300 presents were picked up by military families here on Fort Drum, Operation Tribute coordinators say that over 12,000 presents were sent statewide.
“It’s a great program and I’m very thankful to all the people who contribute to this both in terms of the volunteers that you see here today and in terms of people in the organizations that contribute to a program who help support our military families,” said Colonel Rosenberg.
“Oftentimes, the families are the forgotten heroes of the military. A mother or father may be out there serving the country or overseas, but the support of the families back here stateside, while recognizing that fact it often times gets missed,” said Dan Waseneechak, Martin’s Point Healthcare.
Inside the children’s' packages was a letter from another child of the same age, thanking them for sharing their family to protect our country. Ensuring that they know just how much their sacrifice means this holiday season and all year long.