07 Dec Operation Home
We love that our servicemen and women are able to get home for Christmas through Operation Home. Here is how it all got started:
Since our son serves in the U.S. Army and is stationed a great distance from home, we know his longing to see his family. Our family is a tight knit group with six kids. The siblings of our soldier miss him as deeply as he longs to be with them. We love America and we all are so proud of our son’s service. When we spoke with him on the phone we knew by the sound of his voice he was hoping to be home for Christmas but was unsure if the dream would come true. During the fall of 2014, we wanted to see our son home for Christmas. He didn’t know if he would receive “leave”, but he prayed and hoped it could happen. We could tell that he not only wanted to be home, he needed to be home to see the faces of those who drive his reason to serve.
Justin was able to come home for Christmas that year. Being stationed in Alaska his travel was extremely expensive. He was able to get home with the financial help of family members.
The next year our son was home for Thanksgiving 2015 leave. We made sure he could be home to celebrate with his family. During his time at home we asked him, “How many enlisted soldiers who receive a Holiday leave actually get to go home?” His answer was quite surprising and moving, “Very few.”
This is the reason for Operation H.O.M.E.
(Helping Our Military’s Enlisted)
After that conversation, we began to realize many of our brave young enlisted soldiers cannot afford to travel home to see their families. Getting the opportunity for “leave” is not the problem. The meager pay our enlisted service people receive does not permit many to save enough to buy tickets home. We asked ourselves, “How can we help those who cannot afford to get home during the holidays?” (For many of the military personnel who have not seen family in several years a trip home is a therapeutic and restorative time that boost troop morale.)
We decided on December 11, 2015 to try meeting as many needs as possible. We founded Operation H.O.M.E with the goal of Helping Our Military’s Enlisted get home for Christmas. We contacted friends, family and business associates to ask for help. God used a small group of people to donate over $13,000 in just 12 days. Operation H.O.M.E. worked with the assistance of Army Chaplains to find 10 deserving soldiers and funded their trips home.
The service member had to meet one of the following two criteria:
- They had not seen their family in two years.
- They were facing some extenuating circumstances.