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Military Mom Talk Radio hosted by Sandra Beck and Robin Boyd welcome Andi Grant of Give2TheTroops on Monday, March 7th

Motherhood Talk Radio, Military Mom Talk Radio, Motherhood Incorporated, Sandra Beck, Robin Boyd, Andi Grand, Give2Troops, Itunes, ToginetAndi Grant is the Founder of Give2TheTroops® and began the organization in 2002 when her husband, U.S Marine Sgt. Brian Grant was called for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Andi has 20 years of professional and volunteer experience including working for the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service, The U.S. Department of Defense, Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve and several private companies.

She has lived in many countries which gives her a great appreciation of other cultures and lifestyles.
While overseas at Embassy Lisbon, Andi coordinated the Marine Security Guard Sponsorship Program and was an active volunteer for the International Bazaar Fundraiser and the American Members of the United States Embassy (AMUSE). She was recognized by the Ambassador with multiple awards for her community service and “Esprit de Corps”.

In Portugal, she volunteered many years as a Girl Scout Leader for Daisy Scouts, Junior Scouts and Cadettes, participating in conferences for the Europe region of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) in Adelboden, Switzerland.

Andi earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in public communications at Syracuse University, where she was a University Telethon Fundraiser, President of the Alumni Association, a “University Top 100 Student” and an Ambassador to the Chancellor. Additionally, she was the Events Chair and Fundraising Chair for her sorority.

Prior to Syracuse, she studied at La Universidad Santa Maria in Caracas, Venezuela. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

A philanthropist at heart, she has a long history of helping others. While living in New York City, she tutored underprivileged children with the “Two Together” program in Harlem. She raised funds and organized multiple walks and drives for The American Diabetes Association, The American Red Cross, The American Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The American Cancer Society and The March of Dimes. She’s also a Secure Member of the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security’s Infragard Connecticut.

In March, 2004, Andi received the American Red Cross’ Community Impact Award for her efforts with Give2TheTroops.

In June, 2006, Andi received the President’s Call to Service Lifetime Award for volunteering more than 80,000 hours to charities throughout her life and inspiring others to engage in volunteer service. That same month, she was recognized for her efforts by President George W. Bush during her visit to the White House.

In November, 2007, she received the National Award and George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

In 2009, she received three U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute Commendations from General George W. Casey, Jr. (Chief of Staff), Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren, Secretary of the Army, John M. McHugh, COL Robert M. Cosby, CPT Peter Aleria, and SGT Jose Acevedo for her contributions and commitment to our U.S. Army community.

In July, 2009 she was presented with The American Legion Department of Connecticut 2009 Americanism Award for her service, dedication, patriotism and support of all Veterans in Connecticut and abroad.
Andi is very passionate about supporting all branches of our military. She participates in many community activities throughout the nation including the U.S. Marine Corps Marathon and Stephen Siller’s Tunnel to Towers Run and welcoming home the troops at Dallas Ft Worth Airport. Additionally she supports the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, The National Iwo Jima Memorial Historical Foundation (Andi is a lifetime member), The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Disabled Veterans and several other military-related organizations and foundations.

Andi wants our military members to know they’re never forgotten. She will always appreciate and remember our troops, our veterans and our POW’s for their selfless sacrifices and she will always refer to them as “heroes.”

Military Mom Talk Radio on airs on Mondays at 2pm pst on Toginet and can be downloaded directly from www.itunes.com. Military Mom Talk Radio is co-hosted by Sandra Beck, Tina Gonzalez and Robin Boyd and powered by Motherhood Incorporated.

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Motherhood Talk Radio hosted by Sandra Beck Welcomes Carolyn Blashek of Operation Gratitude, November 23

Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude, Support for troops, care packages for troops, Motherhood Talk Radio, Sandra Beck, Christy HollyCarolyn Blashek is the founder of Operation Gratitude, the California- based 501 (c) (3) non-profit, volunteer organization that annually sends 100,000+ care packages of snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and on military ships at sea.  Its mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and to express to all our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people.   Since its inception in March, 2003, Operation Gratitude has shipped more than 550,000 packages to American service members deployed overseas.

After 9-11, Blashek felt a passionate desire to help fight the war on terrorism. Although then a 46-year-old mother of two, her first thought was to join the Military. She quickly found out she was too old for duty and started volunteering at the military lounge in the Los Angeles airport. One day in March 2003, a soldier came into the office and broke down at her desk. He was on emergency leave from a war zone to bury his mother, his wife had left him and his only child had died as an infant–he had no one else in his life. “I’m going back over there; I don’t think I’ll make it back this time, but it really doesn’t matter because no one would even care” he told her. Right then Blashek realized that when bullets are flying, it’s critical for troops to know that someone cares about them as an individual. That’s when Operation Gratitude was born.

While most organizations ask people to support the troops by writing a check, Blashek wanted to provide a more personal and hands-on connection with our troops overseas.  She started asking everyone she met if they knew a deployed service member needing extra TLC so she could send them care packages of snacks and entertainment items.  Most importantly, each package would include letters of encouragement from appreciative citizens.  Now, Blashek is contacted by leaders and commanders in the field who see the positive impact the Operation Gratitude care packages have on their troops in combat.  Since November 2003, Operation Gratitude has conducted its Assembly Drives in the California Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, California.

Since starting Operation Gratitude in 2003, Blashek has devoted herself full time, as a volunteer, to the development and direction of the organization.  In January, 2008, at the invitation of the Commanding General, Blashek personally delivered the 300,000th package, containing the keys to a new Jeep Liberty, to a Soldier deployed in Northern Iraq.  First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and 25 members of Congress and the Obama Administration joined Blashek and 12,000 Operation Gratitude volunteers on January 19, 2009, the National Day of Service, to assemble 85,000 care kits for Operation Gratitude packages

Operation Gratitude has been featured widely in the media.  Blashek has been a guest nationally on Fox News, CNN, Good Morning America, NPR’s Morning Edition, as well as the Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, Brian Whitman, John Riggins and the Satellite Sisters Radio Shows. Dozens of Internet websites and blogs have mentioned and link to Operation Gratitude.

Blashek is a member of the New York and California Bars, practiced law at the Los Angeles law firm of Loeb & Loeb, was Associate Counsel for Hilton Hotels Corporation, taught as a Visiting Professor at Whittier Law School and has a Certificate in Mediation.   While raising children full-time, Blashek participated in several charitable and school based organizations, and was President of the Board of Trustees of The Women’s Care Cottage, a shelter for homeless women and children in Los Angeles.  California First Lady Maria Shriver awarded the 2010 Minerva Humanitarian Award to Blashek.

Blashek was born and raised in Manhattan.  Following graduation from Barnard College in 1976 and Columbia Law School in 1979, she moved to Los Angeles with her husband and fellow-law school classmate, Robert.  Together they raised two children (Jenna, 25 and Jordan, 23), two dogs and several cats. 

Motherhood Talk Radio is powered by Motherhood Incorporated, bringing you the most powerful voice in women’s issues today and is hosted by Sandra Beck, Christy Holly and Rick Swanson.  Motherhood Talk Radio airs on www.Toginet.com every Tuesday, 3 pm pacific, 4pm mountain, 5 pm central and 6 pm eastern and can be downloaded from www.Itunes.com and www.motherhoodtalkradio.com.

Military Mom Talk Radio Welcomes Marty Martin of OperationGratitude – October 18, 2010

Operation Gratitude, Care Packages for Soldiers, Sending Care Packages to Soldiers, Military  Mom Talk Radio, Sandra Beck, Tina Gonzales, Marty Martin, Robin BoydMarty Martin is a wife and mother of 3.  Her oldest son has served as an officer in the NAVY for 6-1/2 years, getting out in December.  He deployed twice: once on a ship in the Gulf, stationed out of Sasebo, Japan, and once in Iraq with Riverine Squadron, stationed out of Little Creek, VA.  As most military families will tell you, “I” deployed twice.  When your child is over there, part of you is, too.
I have been volunteering with Operation Gratitude for 6 years, and consider myself an Op Great addict!

Founded in March, 2003, Operation Gratitude ( www.OperationGratitude.com ) is the California 501 (c) (3) non-profit, volunteer-based organization that sends care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and on Naval ships at sea.  Each service member receives their own care package addressed directly to them.

Each package has 50 or more items

Our mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express to all Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people.  Every American anywhere in the country can participate either by helping at the Armory, writing letters, knitting scarves, recycling cell phones or organizing collection drives or fundraisers in their own community.

Operation Gratitude receives the names of thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from commanders in the field who see the positive impact of care packages on their troops’ morale.  Individual service members or their loved ones can submit names to receive packages through the website: www.OperationGratitude.com

The organization sends 100,000+ care packages every year during two major campaigns: A Patriotic Drive in May and a Holiday Drive in the winter.  We will send 60,000 packages during the 2010 Holiday Drive.  We will send our 600,000th package on December 11th

    a. The Patriotic Drive runs April-June; the Holiday Drive runs September-December
    b. We welcome volunteers Mon. and Fri. from 9-4 and Tues, Wed and Thurs from 12-4
    c. Check website for Weekend dates

Each package contains donated product valued at ~$100-$125 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Donated funds are used to pay the assembly and shipping expenses.  Our annual budget is $1.5 Million cash and ~$15 Million of in-kind products and services. For safety and security, assembling of packages occurs at the Army National Guard Armory at the corner of Victory and Louise in Van Nuys, California.  Anyone 12 years and older is welcome to volunteer at the armory.

For more information, visit the website: www.OperationGratitude.com. We are also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Military Mom Talk Radio on airs on Mondays at 2pm pst on www.toginet.com and can be downloaded directly from www.itunes.com .  Military Mom Talk Radio is co-hosted by Sandra Beck and Tina Gonzalez and powered by Motherhood Incorporated