Operation Gift Cards accepts $20,000 donation

Operation Gift Cards, an organization started by Shelton resident, Al Meadows, received a big helping hand from Fairfield Firefighters recently.

Angel Cadena, a Shelton veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom and one tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom, accepted a $20,000 donation on July 10 from the Fairfield Firefighters Local 1426, on behalf of Derby/Shelton AMVETS Post 43.

The check was presented by Steve Lobdell and Steve Curry. The Fairfield Firefighters raised the money during the annual Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon and 5K in June. Steve Lobdell, the creator and president of the fairfieldhalf.org, and Steve Curry, Assistant Chief of the Fairfield Fire Department and an Air Force veteran, have both been among the 199 representatives (from 64 organizations) who have visited the wounded troops for Operation Gift Cards. The AMVETS and the Fairfield Firefighters local1426 have been two of the largest supporters of Operation Gift Cards.

Half of the donation is to be used directly for Operation Gift Cards for our wounded troops and the other $10,000 is to be used toward the purchase of a new large van with a wheelchair lift, which will be used for the trips to visit wounded troops in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Since October 2005, Operation Gift Card’s has made 83 monthly and bimonthly visits and presented 14,025 thank you kits, which contained $280,500 in post exchange (military department store) gift certificates to our wounded troops. An additional $234,996 in other gift certificates and special group product donations have been delivered to the Soldier Family Assistance Center, the Fisher Houses, Building 62, the Navy Lodge, the Red Cross, and the Casualty Affairs Office, along with over $50,000 worth items on the “wish list” for both the wounded troops and their families.

The new van will also be used for the Disabled American Veterans’ Local Veterans Assistance Program which is assisted by the AMVETS, especially Derby/Shelton Post 43. The DAV Local Veterans Assistance Program takes veterans from hospitals and nursing homes and those who are “shut-ins” in their home, on day trips.

For more information about Operation Gift Cards contact: Operation Gift Cards Chairman, Al Meadows (203) 929-3357 al.meadows@snet.net