Last Leg of the Christmas Journey: Jan 2015

Last Leg of the Christmas Journey: Jan 2015

THE LAST LEG OF THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING’S JOURNEY

Chief Santa

Just as planned and like clockwork, all of the pallets of Christmas Stockings had already cleared customs and were waiting for delivery on Dec. 22. The USO had taken care of all those details and had already positioned the boxes of stockings in front of each and every barracks. This was a nice change from last years stocking event and it later proved to be one of the key elements that made for a much smoother event.
When I arrived around 5pm on Monday the 22nd a large crowd of volunteers had already gathered at the USO building on base. As my wife and I entered the USO we were warmly greeted by Michelle, the USO project manager, and a two-man team of reporters from American Forces Network, AFN, (who were to be my shadow for the evening). They were quick to hook me up with a mic for a last minute interview, prior to heading out the door for the evening.
Over 100 volunteers were busy eating hotdogs and chili (provided by the Red Cross) and getting organized into their assigned teams in preparation for the nights distribution activities. Michelle took a moment to address the group, making mention of my presence and to express thanks and gratitude to Operation Give for sending all of the Christmas stockings.
The air was filled with a special spirit of Christmas cheer, as the crowd dawned their Santa hats and discussed how excited they were to be able to take part in this event. With their bellies full of chili and all bundled up to embrace the cold air of the winter evening, they piled into their cars and proceeded to their assigned barracks.
With us in the reporters van, we also headed out to capture the activities of the various groups; hoping to also take part in the distribution effort. Prior to this evening, I was quite concerned about how I was going to get the footage needed to send back to the states,; so I am sure you can imagine how relieved I was to see AFN was going to be covering my activities for the evening. The fact is, this was the first year that reporters from AFN had covered the event.
With my two reporter buddies in tow, we jumped into action at the first barracks, grabbing several boxes of stockings and proceeded to knock on each and every door, hoping to find soldiers at home for the evening. With only a few exceptions (some soldiers were just not at home), each door opened and to the surprise of a soldier or two, we captured their expressions of gratitude for the surprise Christmas gift. Catching them off guard, it was totally unexpected for them to receive a Christmas Stocking and of course to be filmed by AFN at the same time.
We had a ball spreading the true spirit of Christmas, which of course got all of us into the giving mood. As the night drew to a close, I remembered some smaller barracks on base that might have been forgotten. So with several boxes of stockings we headed over to the other side of the base to an area not familiar to most people. In the darkness of the night and in an area dimly lit, we knocked on the doors of several smaller one-level structures, where 3 or 4 soldiers were living. This proved to be the best decision we made all night.

Chief Santa

Behind one of the doors stood a small female soldier, who greeted us with such joy and excitement. She exclaimed she was having a bad day and was missing her husband and her three children back in the states. Our timely visit and small gift brightened up her evening and changed her mood for the upcoming Christmas holiday.
Another female soldier explained that she had a terribly difficult day at work and was somewhat down and depressed, but seeing us and receiving a Christmas Stocking turned that all around. She expressed her heart-felt gratitude and appreciation for the thoughtfulness of those who prepared the stockings back home. She stated that the stocking had a huge impact on her spirit for the Christmas, instantly changing her mood. She siad it was nice to be remembered by those back in the states during the holidays.
It was a great night for all; both for the givers and the receivers. The spirit of the evening was contagious for the camera crew as well, who actually in the end became givers, as they passed out stockings to others on their team of soldier reporters.
A great time was had by all.
Chief Wiggles
“doing it the wiggles way”

Operation Christmas Stocking

Posted by Plunge Sunday, 4 January 2015

 

OPERATION CHRISTMAS STOCKING

Our Purpose

More often then not, our purpose in life has something to do with serving others and finding ways to give back or pay it forward to others.

That is what it is all about and we at Operation Give can provide you a way to do that.

I have been recently touched by the lyrics of a song sung my David Archuletta called “Glorious”, that nails it on the head.
You can read the lyrics below.

There are times when you might feel aimless
And cant see the places where you belong
But you will find that there is a purpose
Its been there within you all along
And when youre near it you can almost hear it.
[Chorus:]
Its like a symphony just keep listening
And pretty soon youll start to figure out your part
Everyone plays a piece and there are melodies
In each one of us, oh, its glorious
[Verse 2:]
And you will know how to let it ring out as you discover who you are
Others around you will start to wake up
To the sounds that are in their hearts
Its so amazing, what were all creating
[Chorus:]
Its like a symphony just keep listening
And pretty soon youll start to figure out your part
Everyone plays a piece and there are melodies
In each one of us, oh, its glorious
[Bridge:]
And as you feel the notes build
You will see
[Chorus:]
Its like a symphony just keep listening
And pretty soon youll start to figure out your part
Everyone plays a piece and there are melodies
In each one of us, oh, its glorious

Don’t forget to Give back or to Give it forward to others this Christmas season.

__________________________

Packages can be shipped to:
Operation Give
c/o Mesa Moving Storage
2275 South 900 West, Dock 49
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119

Mesa_Moving_logo2

Donation-can

Donate to Operation
Give Via PayPal

Contact for donations:
Elaine 435-512-4956
Elaine@operationgive.org
or Chief Wiggles at
wigglesholton@yahoo.com

Operation Give’s Christmas:

Christmas Stocking Video With my head still spinning from our most recent miraculous humanitarian relief mission to the Island Kingdom of Tonga, I have been on a whirlwind tour through New Zealand, Los Angeles, back home to Salt Lake City, Utah and now if you can believe it back living in South Korea. In the course of all this traveling and without the cover of white snow to get me in the spirit of the season, I haven’t been able to focus much on Christmas. But, the one thing each year that gets me in the giving spirit is Operation Christmas Stocking.
Fortunately, during my time at home I was able to take part in a stocking-stuffing event at the Mesa Moving and Storage warehouse with a great group of about 30 people from the Utah State Health Department. It was a wonderful event, full of Christmas spirit and plenty of great items to stuff into the almost 1,000 stockings we prepared for shipment overseas to our troops. This brought our total for 2014 to over 5,000 Christmas stockings that have been either sent into us or stuffed at the warehouse.

With a winter chill in the air, Christmas music playing in the background and free food from Papa Johns and Jimmy Johns as motivation, each of our Christmas do-gooders cheerfully grabbed an empty Christmas stocking and proceeded down the line of tables grabbing items to stuff in the stockings. You could tell they were all thinking about how each item would be received on the other end by a soldier away from home. They each made their selection from piles of items and obviously put their own amount of TLC into each stocking.

About halfway through the event I took a moment to sincerely thank each of them for their kind efforts and to express my own feelings about what it is like to receive a Christmas stocking while deployed to a far off land during Christmas. As I thought about my own experience during the Christmas of 2003 in Baghdad and with tears in my eyes I tried to explain the deeper significance of the Christmas stocking and the message it sends to a soldier that he hasn’t been forgotten. During this busy Christmas season, I truly appreciated their service and sacrifice to help make Operation Christmas Stocking possible. What better way to spend this Christmas time then to be in the service of our fellow citizens who are serving our great nation.

9pallots plusI was extremely grateful that I was there to take part in this event and especially thankful I was able to share this moment with my wife and two sons, who, with their families, took part also. All of our spirits were high and the air was full of laughter, as we joyfully stuffed as many stockings as we could and prepared the pallets of stockings for shipment overseas.

A few days later FedEx picked up a total of 12 pallets of Christmas stockings, each pallet weighing in at around 1100 pounds. To our joy and excitement, within the following week we received word that the stockings had arrived at their destination and were clearing customs. We appreciate the Utah based Goldman Sachs group who not only took part in their own stocking stuffing event, but also donated most of the money needed to pay for the shipment, which FedEx took care of at a much discounted rate.
The great thing about this year’s Operation Christmas Stocking is that I will not only be able to take part in the front end of stuffing the stockings but also in the backend of actually delivering some of the stockings in person to individual soldiers here in South Korea. We were able to ship a certain amount of the stockings to the USO here in South Korea, for delivery to a small percentage of the 28,000 plus service men and women serving here.
With the help of the USO and the Red Cross, we are scheduled to go out tomorrow on Monday the 22nd of December to deliver the stockings to all the soldiers living in the barracks here on the Yongsan base. The USO has helped us with the distribution of the stockings to the soldiers for the past 3 years, this year being the 4th year of their participation. We thank all of their volunteers for their efforts to help make this all possible. (I will be taking a lot of video and photos of the event, so stay tuned for that later this week).

In the course of my busy life, with all the other things I have going on, it is this type of event that helps bring me back to what is important in life and reminds me of my true path towards happiness. It is only when we are in the service of our fellow men that we truly start to see the bigger picture of what life is and should be all about.

P1070119Many great people have stated the following,

“Emerson said that every great institution is but the lengthened shadow of a great person. The power is in us, in each of us the power to do significant acts of service on our own initiative if we will become anxiously engaged.”
Gordon B. Hinckley

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
Chinese Proverb

In the bible we read,
“If any man will come after me [He said], let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24–25; see also Matthew 10:39).

Lately as I continue to evaluate the purpose of my own existence, I continue to think back on how Operation Give began and what its purpose was and currently is. The purpose of Operation Give first and foremost is to provide an opportunity for soldiers and others to serve their fellow men; to provide the needed supplies and resources necessary to serve the needs of others. As with Operation Christmas Stocking, we provide people on the front end an opportunity to serve through donating items and to participate in events and on the backend we provide people an opportunity to serve as they donate their time and efforts in distributing items to individual soldiers.

In the course of life, as each one of us try to figure out what we are supposed to be doing while on this earth, we all have those times, if even for a moment, when we discover something we know we were supposed to be doing and usually it has something to do with serving someone else. There is a plan for each of us and we all have a purpose that needs to be accomplished, it is just a matter of figuring that out.

Merry Christmas

Chief Wiggles
“Doing it the Wiggles way”

Posted by Chief Wiggles Saturday, 03 January 2015

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