Operation Once in a Lifetime Makes Christmas Dreams Come True for Hundreds of Military Children
Local military personnel from the Army and the Marines joined Operation Once in a Lifetime Wednesday and Thursday as they went around the DFW metroplex picking up hundreds of donated toys and bicycles for military families at Ft. Hood, the largest military base in the U.S.
Operation Once in a Lifetime (OOIAL) is the only military charity that supports all branches of the military regardless of their branch of service, their length of service, or physical condition. Their motto is “You served, you qualify.” OOIAL was founded by former U.S. Navy Seal Sargent Patrick Sowers to make the dreams of U.S. soldiers and their families come true by providing free financial and morale support to U.S service members.
“A soldier knows what a soldier does and doesn’t need,” says Sgt. Sowers. “A soldier does not need to worry about providing beds for his kids, worrying if his electricity will still be on when he goes home or if his house will be foreclosed on when serving his/her country. A soldier needs a program that will provide free financial assistance regardless of his rank, race, branch of service, physical condition, or his deployment status. A soldier needs a program that can help make a life altering contribution when he is in his/her greatest need; Operation Once in a Lifetime is that program.”
Operation Once in a Lifetime receives numerous requests during the holidays from military service members who need assistance providing a good Christmas for their kids. These requests come from the families of soldiers who are currently deployed overseas and stateside and even from families that have lost a parent protecting our country.
Similar to “Toys for Tots” where Marines collect toys for lower income civilians’ children, OOIAL works with local businesses to provide signage, gift wrapped collection boxes, and other operational needs. This year a new OOIAL sponsor – Tilted Kilt in Lewisville, TX – funded one of the two trucks used to pick-up toys at the various collection points around the metroplex.
“It is very important for us to give back to our community, especially during the holiday season,” said Anit Patel, co-owner of Tilted Kilt Lewisville. “We are very proud to be able to partner with a charity like Operation Once in a Lifetime that is truly focused on honoring the service of all of our troops regardless of their branch of service or status.”
In 2010, the program’s first year, OOIAL raised more than $35,000 in toys and distributed them to more than 500 military families and nearly 1,000 military children. This year the organization exceeded its expectations, having to add a second truck to transport the donations to Ft. Hood.
“It is amazing to see how generous our area is in supporting our military children at Christmastime,” said Sgt. Sowers. These kids often go months without seeing one or both of their parents who are deployed stateside or overseas, and unfortunately their parents don’t always return home. It’s an honor to be able to make these kids Christmas a little more joyful by providing them a couple of toys or a new bike. It’s the least we can do in exchange for their parents’ service to our country.”
In addition to conducting the toy drive, OOIAL provides non-profit day cares in and around military installations; funds flights for soldiers to come home on leave to see their families; provides furniture, clothes, toys, electronics, and other household needs; offers morale support through donated tickets to once-in-a-lifetime events; and generally tries to meet any identified need possible for all of our military and their families. If you would like to learn more about Operation Once in a Lifetime’s activities or would like to make an online donation, please visit their website at www.operationonceinalifetime.com. You may also send requests and contributions via postal mail to PO Box 797052, Dallas, Texas 75379.
This press release was written for Tilted Kilt and Operation Once in a Lifetime and edited by Melissa Cox with Aclarus Marketing & Events.