Tag Archives: Veterans

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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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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