It is the simple things in life that we take for granted the most, even items like a toothbrush. For The Troops, a non-profit, volunteer based organization, collects the simple necessities of life and sends them to the heroes fighting for our country.
It was in fact a toothbrush that started the organization in 2005. One morning, Paula Cornell, co-founder and president, pointed out to her husband that he had not brushed his teeth. He replied that he did not brush his teeth for a year in Vietnam. After hearing the conditions the solders lived in from her husband, Cornell decided she needed to take action.
Since then, Cornell alongside co-founder Janie Josephson and their team have transported over 130,000 care packages to soldiers across the world. Her volunteers package granola bars, canned tuna, batteries, and so many other household luxuries that the soldiers live without.
Along with sending packages, the team organizes fundraisers and in February hosted a Military Tribute Gala at the Ronald Reagan Library. The event featured local bands including Ticket To Ride, a Beatles tribute band.
Terry Howard, a member of the board of directors, spoke at the gala at how the packages can make a difference in a soldier’s life.
“I could really relate to the cause because, you see, my mom [and] my grandmother sent me packages, their version of care packages, during my time in Nam,” said Howard. “It showed me my folks were thinking of me, they cared about me, and more important they had my back.”
To personalize packages, members of the team write a letter to the soldier who will be receiving the box to ensure the men and women know they are cared for and respected.
“Thanks to these brave American sons and daughters, you don’t have to worry about the freedom of your own children,” said Cornell.
Every day we can be thankful for the soldiers fighting for our freedom and for the acts of compassion the volunteers taking time to give the men and women a reminder of home.