Tag Archives: military

Operation Paperback

Operation Paperback

I have always enjoyed reading.  I take advantage of borrowing books from the library and I am a sucker for a used book sale.  Today’s organization is helping provide books to those in the military who are deployed far from libraries and book sales.

In 1999, Chief Master Sergeant Rick Honeywell was deployed to a base in the Middle East without access to much in the way of relaxation or entertainment.  Dan M. Bowers, Rick’s father-in-law, decided to help him out.  He sent over 800 paperback books to Rick, creating the first Operation Paperback library overseas.  Rick’s wife, Chrissy Honeywell, thought this was a one-time occurrence, but her dad had a larger mission in mind.  Dan put stickers in the books to let the troops know how to write and request books.  He also started looking for other locations which needed books.  This was the founding of Operation Paperback.

The mission of Operation Paperback is to provide reading material to any military who requests it.  Their original mission was to support deployed troops who were in locations without access to reading material or other entertainment, but today many overseas locations have libraries of paperback books due to the 14 years of help from volunteers.  So, their mission has been expanded to reach veterans hospitals as well as individual veterans and military families in the United States and abroad.

The Operation Paperback is incorporated in Pennsylvania and their administrative location is in the Boston area, but they have individual and group volunteers spread across the United States.

Each volunteer or group of volunteers collects, labels, packs and sends their books directly to a troops, veterans, or military families.  Many thank you notes are sent directly back from the military directly to the volunteers.  This personal connection is what makes Operation Paperback unique according to current administrator, Chrissy Honeywell.  You can see examples of the thank you notes sent from troops on their website.

In 2012, Operation Paperback had 16,000 volunteers and sent 20,000 books per month.  Since their founding in 1999, volunteers have shipped almost two million books to troops, veterans, and military families.  Occasionally, the organization sends special requests to their volunteers.  For the past several months, they have been supporting a Behavioral Health Unit in a veteran’s hospital with self-help books and other personal care items.  This special project has helped young warriors dealing with post-traumatic stress and other personal issues.

How can you help? 

  • Anyone can participate by becoming a volunteer shipper.  Once you have registered with Operation Paperback, you can use their website to determine who could use the books you have.  Then you label and pack the books, include a letter and ship the box.  You can send a single shipment or several, it is up to you.  Learn more and sign up here.
  • You can also make monetary donations to help support the program including website costs and special requests.  Learn more and make a donation on their website.
  • You can also help by spreading the word.  Simply share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, etc. using the options at the bottom of the post.

To learn more about Operation Paperback, please visit their website  You can also follow them on Facebook.

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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


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Operation Shower

I have had two babies and each time friends and family threw me a baby shower, my husband was even dragged to the one that his family threw for us.  Some military wives do not get to have their husband by their side during pregnancy and may not have friends or family nearby.  Today’s organization helps fill in the gap for those women.

Operation Shower is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization dedicated to celebrating and honoring military families.  They provide joyful baby showers for military families to ease the burden of deployment.

The organization was founded in 2007 by LeAnn Morrissey after she asked for ways to support her uncle who was deployed overseas.  He asked her to send a card to four women who were expecting babies.  Rather than just send a card, LeAnn sent a “shower-in-a-box” to each woman.  She received overwhelming support from her friends and delighted thank you notes from the moms.  She decided to continue to honor the women at home whose sacrifices are not always seen.  She joined with Kris Jackson to hold the first unit-wide baby shower at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in June of 2007.  It was from the success of that shower that Operation Shower was born.

Since 2007, Operation Shower has hosted 17 beautiful showers honoring over 600 military mothers-to-be all across the country. They are growing rapidly and in 2012 plan to host at least seven showers for about 300 military expecting moms.  These showers not only provide mothers-to-be with a signature “shower-in-a-box” full of high quality products, but also a shared experience and a chance to meet and interact with other women in a similar situation.

I think this line from the Operation Shower website sums this organization up nicely, “Operation Shower was founded specifically because we know that moms in a military family who hold it all together at home — moms who go through a pregnancy without their spouse by their side, deployed to a another part of the world, proudly serving our country, but wishing they could do more for those at home — these moms deserve our support, our thanks, our love and of course, they deserve a party!”

You can watch a great video about Operation Shower here.

How can you help?

Individuals and groups can volunteer with Operation Shower by collecting donations or hosting a product party to collect donations.  There is even an easy opportunity to shop the Operation Shower Wish List at  If you are near one of the shower events, you can help with decorations, setup, and cleanup at the event.  Volunteers can also offer their professional services, help secure party rentals, and assist with administrative tasks.  You can visit their website to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

In addition, monetary donations are accepted on the organization’s website.  Donations are used to purchase items for the showers to ensure that all the boxes at a shower include the same items.

You can learn more about Operation Shower on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.


Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization


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Majestic Hills Ranch

I was one of those little girls who always wanted a pony. I told my dad that we could fit one in the garage. Now history repeats itself – my daughter wants a horse too! Horses seem to have the power to make people smile. Today’s organization uses the magic of horses to help put smiles on the faces of children and veterans.

Majestic Hills Ranch (MHR) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides reputable, safe, and enjoyable therapeutic riding to children and young adults with special needs, and rehabilitative services to injured Veterans.

Jackie, the granddaughter of the Foundation’s Chair Kim Howard, was born with Recurrent Respiratory Papillomas – a disease of the airway. Her feisty spirit kept her going even though her life expectancy was expected to be short. When Jackie was 6 years old, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and had an operation to remove the lower right lobe of her lung. She then underwent various chemotherapy treatments which disabled her greatly. Jackie ached all over and could no longer walk or lift her legs. This was when Kim Howard thought of therapeutic horse riding to loosen Jackie’s muscles. Once she was placed on the horse, she was again smiling, and even seemed to forget the pain and her disability while riding. In just about four weeks Jackie was not only walking, giggling, dancing, and roller skating down the street, she was riding every day and gaining more confidence and strength than ever! Jackie lived to 19 years of age before lung cancer took her life, but the animals helped her keep her strength and spirits up.

After her experience seeing all the physical, emotional and social benefits of riding therapy, Kim Howard decided to create the same advantage for other children who face difficult challenges. In 1997, Majestic Hills Ranch, 106 acres of beautiful rolling hills located in scenic Dakota County, Minnesota was purchased. In 1998, a Board was formed, and in 1999, MHR gained was granted a 501(c)(3) status.

Their mission of the children’s program at MHR is to provide children and young adults with special needs the opportunity to achieve a sense of freedom, accomplishment, and self-esteem while giving their families hope. They help children and young adults with physical and emotional challenges, chronic illness, or symptoms of abuse or neglect, enjoy their lives to the greatest degree possible.

Throughout the years, the ranch has been able to expand from the original, single 12-stall stable to what it is now with the generous support of various foundations, companies, and individuals. It has become a fenced-in, outdoor riding arena with a wheelchair ramp and seating for parents and siblings, all adjacent to the parking lot. There is also a picnic area, bonfire pit, a hay wagon that accommodates wheelchairs, and a small petting zoo.

The stories of the children who have been through the program at MHR are amazing! Children with Cerebral Palsy who came to the ranch with bodies so twisted that they need to be tied into their wheelchairs. At the end on one 25 week long season, their bodies become so straight and strong that many are able to learn how to walk. Autistic children who are mute have started talking and learned social skills.

In 2010, MHR established a “Heroes on Horseback” program. They have made the commitment to bring the benefits of equine therapy to our Veterans who have sacrificed so much. It is a small way of helping repay them for all they have given and all they have lost. The goal of the Heroes on Horseback program is to engage Armed Forces Veterans and their families in a variety of recreational and therapeutic equestrian activities designed to achieve measureable behavioral, cognitive, physical, psychological, and communication goals.

In the future, Majestic Hills Ranch wishes to have an indoor arena that would enable them to provide service year-round and not be controlled by Minnesota’s inclement weather.

Volunteers are important to MHR. They use approximately 200 volunteers each year to work with the children and Veteran’s. These volunteers commit approximately four hours per week. There are opportunities for individuals with and without horse handling experience. There are also opportunities for groups to come out and do ranch chores, paint, and work in the gardens. MHR also needs volunteers to help with events that are held at the ranch.

As with any organization, monetary donations are also greatly appreciated. You can make donations via or PayPal at MHR’s website

Learn more about Majestic Hills Ranch at their website, You can also become their fan on Facebook.

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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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The Mission Continues

There are many organizations that exist to help veterans and their families. Today’s organization offers a bit of a spin…instead of offering a helping hand to returning wounded and disabled veterans, The Mission Continues offers them a challenge.

The Mission Continues believes that the leadership skills and life experiences that our wounded and disabled veterans possess are valuable and untapped assets. While it is very important to tell our returning veterans “thank you” for their service, they believe that it is also important to tell them “we still need you”.  The Mission Continues, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 2007 after CEO Eric Greitens returned home from service in Iraq as a Navy SEAL.  Upon his return, Eric visited with wounded Marines at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. Without exception, each Marine expressed an unwavering desire to continue serving his country, even if he could no longer do so in the military.  One young Marine even said this: “I lost my legs – that is all. I did not lose my desire to serve, or my pride in being an American.” 

Inspired, Eric used his own combat pay and two friends pitched in their military disability checks to found The Mission Continues. The organization’s mission is to build an America where every returning veteran can serve again as a citizen leader, and where together we honor the fallen by living their values through service. The national headquarters of the organization are in St. Louis, Missouri, but they have volunteers and perform service projects nationwide.

The Mission Continues offers several different programs. The Fellowship Program is their flagship program. Post-9/11 wounded and disabled veterans are challenged to serve once again in their communities. A typical fellowship covers 14 to 28 weeks, during which the Fellow serves at a local charitable organization for 20 to 40 hours per week. Each Fellow receives a monetary stipend to offset living expenses. The fellowship provides veterans with the opportunity to translate their military experience into civilian skill sets. Through service, Fellows identify their strengths and gain confidence while serving their communities.

The organization has awarded 106 Fellowships in 22 states. They recently awarded its 100th Mission Continues Fellowship. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, sent a congratulatory letter commemorating this achievement. In her letter she stated, “By providing wounded and disabled veterans a path back to service, The Mission Continues fellowship program is helping those heroes regain a sense of purpose beyond their time in uniform. Fellows are fulfilling their potential as leaders, and improving countless lives through their work each day across our country.”

The Mission Continues also has a Service Projects program that challenges veterans of all eras and civilians of all ages to serve their country by serving their communities. Service Projects provide a place for veterans to be citizen leaders and for all civilians to live the beliefs of veterans while serving by their sides. Many of these projects are performed in memory of a fallen service member. Since 2007, 15,619 volunteers have completed 270 service projects across the nation on behalf of The Mission Continues.

How can you help? 

  • There are opportunities to volunteer at the St Louis headquarters. You can read more about these opportunities here.
  • Wounded or disabled post-9/11 veterans can become a fellow by accepting the challenge to continue his/her service to our country by serving in his/her community. Learn more and apply here
  • Learn more about and sign up to participate in a Service Project on their website. There you can view existing service projects or create your own. 
  • You can make a donation to help The Mission Continues empower wounded and disabled veterans to continue their lives of service.
  • You can also help The Mission Continues by organizing a fundraiser – they even offer an online tool to assist you.
  • In addition, you can spread the word about The Mission Continues and all the great work they are doing.

Learn more by visiting their website, You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

Our next organization profile is the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon South of the River Group.  Many of us know someone who is in the military or someone who has a family member in the military.  Organizations exist to help those who are deployed by sending gifts, phone cards, socks, etc to soldiers…but what about the rest of the family who is left behind when a soldier is deployed?

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is a comprehensive program that creates awareness for the purpose of connecting Service members and their families with community support, training, services and resources.  The mission is to serve, honor, and support our local service men and women as well as their families in our local community.

The South of the River Group is located in Prior Lake.  This group began when local families and service members recognized a need in Scott County.  Yellow Ribbon Communities unite all areas within a community to create a network that connects agencies, organizations, resources, and employers for the purpose of proactively supporting service members and their families.

The Beyond the Yellow Ribbon organization has a wide variety of opportunities to help!  Some examples include babysitting, running an errand or two for a family, fixing a lawnmower, helping around the house, or even just a phone call to the family letting them know you are thinking of them.  Basically any kind of support you are able to give!

You can connect with the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon South of the River Group via e-mail at  You can find more information about the statewide campaign and find other Yellow Ribbon Communities at

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Posted by on August 18, 2010 in Nonprofit Organization


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