Since OTA began sending “wish list” items to deployed troops, the organization has received hundreds of letters from grateful servicemen and women. They are all touching, and the following excerpts represent the sentiments of the soldiers on the receiving end of OTA.
“I really get lost for the right words when someone reaches out to my men like you all have. I know Thank You are only two words but I want your whole staff to know those two words come from my heart. Sleep well knowing that God and the HHC 1/112th will be guarding over you all.” ~ L.D.
“Thanks for the golf items! We have already set up a small driving range behind the Headquarters. It’s always nice to be able to step out and hit a few golf balls between mission briefs or other tasks. Even a couple golf balls a day makes a difference! ~ Lieutenant Colonel W.S.
“My unit received the wonderful package of Under Armor pullovers from OTA and it was such a welcome sight! They brought huge smiles to every-one's face. It is very cold here right now and they are being worn daily. Thank you so much to the OTA staff and sponsors for your thoughtfulness and dedication. It means a lot knowing that folks back home remember us and care so much.”~ Captain. J.W.
“Thanks so much for the care packages. And a BIG THANK YOU for all that you are doing for us. At home we probably would not be as excited to receive the items but here, these are "luxury" items for us. Thanks seems so small compared to what you do and how much we appreciate all that you do for us. I wish I were poetic enough to tell you and show you just what your acts of kindness do for us mentally. May God bless you and all your volunteers and supporters.”~ Major N.C.
“I have received your packages and would like to thank you so very much for supporting us over here. My fellow soldiers and I can’t begin to explain how grateful we are to have people at home like you that take the time and effort to help us get through our deployment. Thank you so much for everything you have done for us and the other service members you have helped in their deployments. It is Americans like you that make it all worth it.” ~ Specialist E.H.
“All I can say is "Wow!" There are a lot of people who care about us! The boxes arrived and all that are left is boxes, empty ones. Everyone had hands everywhere! The soldiers were very happy for everything. I can't thank you guys enough. These care packages were greatly appreciated.” ~ Sergeant J.G.
“You are amazing! We have received footballs, baseball bats, golf balls and so many more items. Amongst my troops & others your support has brought smiles to their faces. The footballs have spurred a notion to begin a local flag football tournament here locally. I want to thank you and your fellow supporters for the selfless actions you all have demonstrated. To be honest the response was not expected, I am lost for words. ~ Staff Sergeant Q.S.
“We couldn't believe all the stuff you sent us. OTA is a fantastic organization! The kindness of strangers is so refreshing. It really warms my heart to know that there are people like you out there, willing to help people so far away that you don't even know. Please tell your volunteers thank you so much and they are amazing people to do this for us.Your boxes definitely made a difference today. Care packages make our deployment a lot easier. You and your volunteers are a big part of what keeps us going. The items we received today will definitely go to good use and the kindness that came from them will go even farther. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!” ~ Private First Class G.C.
"OTA Rocks! Thanks for thinking of us and sending all the
goodies ...especially the books and stationery."
~LT Col., L.M., Air Force
"I just wanted to send out a quick note to thank you again before we pull up tent stakes here and get ready to redeploy. As I have said and many others here have told me, OTA has given us the most and best support since deploying to Iraq." ~ 1SG M.G., Army
"I would like to thank you and your volunteer staff from all of the soldiers on y team. you have covered everything we need, truly your organization is one of a kind and my hat goes off to you." ~CW2 TT, Army.
"There is no way that we will ever be able to repay the kindness of OTA for the things that you have done for us and things that you have sent us. You and your organization are a real lifesaver for those of us who find ourselves at war with a vicious enemy of freedom so far from our families and lives at home." ~ SSG DB, Army
"On behalf of all the soldiers in my squad, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for taking the time and effort to put together the care packages and ship them to us. It really means a lot that you all care. We will continue to do our best to make you all proud, as we are proud to be Americans." ~SSG WR, Army
"We really loved the Wiley X ballistic eye protection too. Everything was great and we just wanted to let you know that you have a wonderful organization. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much. We truly appreciate your generosity and kindness."~ Spc., DW, Army
"I have received your packages and would like to thank you so very much for supporting us over here. My fellow soldiers and I can't begin to explain how grateful we are to have people at home like you that take the time and effort to help us get through our deployment. It's Americans like you that make it all worth it." ~ Specialist EH, Army
"We have received the guitar here in Baghdad. It is a very nice instrument and far exceeded our expectations. We are already putting it to use and singing our hearts out. Words cannot express how grateful we are to your organization for providing this guitar and also for supporting us in this way. Our spirits stay lifted by knowing that there are individuals like yourself that think of us and are willing to provide the fine gifts we receive." ~ CMC WB, Navy
"I returned recently from my R&R to find boxes of wonderful gifts from Operation Troop Appreciation. This extremely kind gesture from you and your organization is appreciated by every one of the soldiers in our unit. Your team at OTA is truly one of a kind." ~ Major TB, Army
"Please tell your volunteers thank you so much and they are amazing people to do this for us. your boxes definitely made a difference today. Care packages make our deployment a lot easier. You and your volunteers are a big part of what keeps us going. The items we received today will definitely go to good use and the kindness that came from them, it will go even farther. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!" ~ Sergeant MM, Army
"We couldn't believe all the stuff you sent us. It really means a lot to us knowing that we have people supporting us. OTA is a fantastic organization. Sometimes you start to get a little discouraged or homesick and then you get a mail call and the kindness of strangers is so refreshing. It really warms my heart to know that there are people like you out there, willing to help people so away that you don't even know." ~ Specialist GC, Army
"I want to thank you personally for supporting the troops in a very big way. We appreicate the time and effort you put into this. This means so much to the troops over here in Kosovo. Thanks again for the SUPPORT!" ~ Staff Sergeant WF, Army
"My wife sent me a copy of your Winter 2008 newsletter and I read it with great interest. As a soldier in the US Army, I can't thank you enough for your dedication, support and service to this nation in supplying the world's finest soldiers with much needed clothing, care packages, games and sports equipment. These items not only keep us warm and comfortable, but provide a connection to our society and give purpose to our mission. A soldiers's life is challenging enough; the same food is served every day, the pay is low, the hours are long and the conditions we work in are hazardous and the vehicles we operate are dangerous. We have little comfort in our daily lives, but you and your sponsors provided the much needed hope to continue the mission. Your organization helped make the holidays more palatable by providing boxes full of surprise gifts. The school supplies you sent help our civil affairs teams establish good-will with the local community leaders. Your organization has given hope and purpose to many of us soldiers serving in the Middle East. I want to personally thank you for what yu have done for my family, our community, and the soldiers serving this great nation." ~ Lieutenant Colonel JF
"We couldn't believe all the stuff you sent us. OTA is a fantastic organization! The kindness of strangers is so refreshing. It really warms my heart to know that there are people like you our there, willing to help people so far away that you don't even know. Please tell your volunteers THANK YOU SO MUCH and they are amazing people to do this for us. Your boxes definietly made a difference today. Care packages make our deployment a lot easier. You and your volunteers are a big part of what keeps us going. The items we received today will definietly go to good use and the kindness that came from them will go even farther. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!" ~ Private First Class GC
"Yet again I must thank you for your amazing ability to take the bite off our long deployment here. Even on my third deployment, I can not begin to imagine that support would well up so well after the continuous negativity I saw on the second one. I am truly glad to know genuine people like you from these tours." ~ CPT. JG, Army
"Thanks fo much for the care packages. And a BIG THANK YOU for all that yu are doing for us. At home we probably would not be as excited to receive the items but here, these are "luxury" items for us. Thanks seems so small compared to what you do and how much we appreciate all that you do for us. I wish I were poetic enough to tell you and show you just what your acts of kindness do for us mentally. May God bless you and all your volunteers and supporters." ~ Major NC, Army
"Thank you very much. You just don't know how much what you do means to my soldiers and me, that there are acutally Americans out there thinking about us. Even though it seems as if everyone forgot about September 11. Thanks for all you have done for me and my soldiers."~ Sgt. KA, Army
"I want you to know that for some of my troops, yur packages and letters mihgt be the only mail they will received while they are here. You absolutely have touched the hearts of many of America's finest. You can rest assured that the men and women out here sweating in the heat and trying our best to ensure the Iraqis have a stable and free environment. We never stop thinking about back home and the people who support us. I want to send everyone who supports your organizaitojn our sincere appreciation." ~ SSG LA, Army
"The simple words of Thank You cannot begin to express how much your packages and letters mean not only to me, but to all the soldiers who you reach out to! We are very grateful to have people like yourselves help us during our time of need. It shows We are not forgotten and that there are people that care about us."~ SFC KL. Army
"You are amazing! We have received footgballs, baseball bats, golf balls and so many more items. Amongst my troops & others your support has brought s iles to their faces. The footballs have spurred a notion ot begin a local flag football tournament here locally. I want to thank you and your fellow supporters for the selfless actions you all have demonstrated. To honest the response was not expected, I am lost for words." ~ Staff Sergeant QS
"I am writing to show our appreciation for your continued support of the Soldiers in my brigade, currently serving in Iraq. Thank you so much for keeping our well-being in mind and for keeping us entertained with items such as the bocce ball set that definitely helps to maintain great morale, not to mention physical fitness. your efforts will forever remain in our thoughts and hearts."~ Command Sergeant Major JH
"Thank you so much for the packages and letters you have sent to my company. Times like this are hard when you are away from your family in a place unfamiliar. Your gifts and letters have made it easier for each of us. Please know that what you have sent has been shared among many, your gifts have gone very far. Thank you for that." ~ Sergeant SB
"thanks fo much for OTA. I had to have surgery in Baghdad at the Military Hospital, from there I went to another city in Iraq awaiting transportation out of the country. Upon arriving at the holding station, we were given items from your organization. Thanks so much for caring and thinking of us Army soldiers and other Armed Forces serving here in Southwest Asia." ~ Lieutenant Colonel DZ
"I did get the packages and they were even more than we could have expected. Thank you all very much. The tactical items you sent we have used almost everyday and ahve greatly helped our mission. In fact, the Garmin GPS that was sent, we acutlaly used to help detain a suspect involved in planting IED's in our area. We had air support helping us look or him after he fled a building in a raid and we saw where he fled to but lost him. The aircraft spotted him and sent us the grid coordinates and were able to walk right up to where he was hiding."~ Staff Sergeant ME
"I really get lost for the right words when someone reaches out to my men like you all have. I know Thank You are only two words but I want your whole staff to know those two words come from my heart. Sleep well knowing that God and the HHC 1/112th will be guarding over you all." ~ LD
"My unit received the wonderful package of Under Armour pullovers from OTA and it was such a welcome sight! They brought huge smiles to everyone's face. It is very cold here right now and they are being worn daily. Thank you so much to the OTA staff and sponsors for your thoughtfulness and dedication. It means a lot knowing that folks back home remember us and care so much." ~ Captain JW
"All I can say is "Wow!" There are a lot of people who care about us! The boxes arrived and all that are left is boxes, empty ones. Everone had hands everywhere! The soldiers were very ahppy for everything. I can't thank you guys enough. These care packages were greatly appreciated." ~ Sergeant J.G.
Thank you for your hard work and effort to raise the money to give us all Leathermans. That someone would go to all that effort on behalf of us means so much.The love you all have for us is the true gift; the Leatherman is just a really nice bonus and we appreciate you for all you have done. ~ Lcpl J. D.
"Thank you for your hard work and effort to raise the money to give us all Leathermans. That someone would go to all that effort on behalf of us means so much.The love you all have for us is the true gift; the Leatherman is just a really nice bonus and we appreciate you for all you have done. ~ Lcpl J. D.
"It is because of people like you and your continuing support that keeps us pushing forward! Your dedication and support is greatly appreciated. ~ Sgt. J. N.
"The Leatherman is by far one of the ideal gifts to send us, for we have many uses for it. The degree of empathy and patriotism you have shown is a standard that I hope every American can live up to. ~ Lcpl D. M.
"We appreciate the Leatherman tools we received. The efforts and sentiments of good American patriots like yourselves mean so much to us, and make our deployment more comfortable and rewarding. It is our hope that you can continue your good work at the home front and that you honor and remember the sacrifices of our fallen as we shall." ~ Cpl P. T.
"I thank you not only for the Leatherman, but for your love of your country and the support you give to the operating forces. ~ SSgt S. D.
"This is a letter to show my appreciation for the Leatherman you sent to us. It was a good morale booster, and is showed that some people in the States really do support our troops. Thank you!" ~ Cpl H
"I honestly wish there were more people like you - people who value service above selfishness, and place faith amongst their foremost priorities in life." ~ Lcpl D. W.
"Thank you for supporting our scout platoon in Fallujah. Without your love and support, we would be naked out here". ~ Sgt. C. O.
"There's nothing like getting a gift from someone you don't know. It's like Christmas! I didn't think anyone would be out there to still support us. Thank you!"~Anonymous Marine
"Although you deserve much more than just a "thank you", that is all I can offer at this point. "You have truly made an impact on my deployment. Thank you." ~ HN M. S.
"I would like to thank you for the Leatherman you chose to send our scout platoon. It is a great gift, but what is more rewarding is to know that people like yourselves are taking the time to send us a gift.Thank you for your support and blessings". ~ Cpl R. H.
"I would like to thank you, OTA staff, and everyone that supports you for the gift. It will come in good use. The support you give is greatly appreciated. Thank you!" ~ Lcpl R. G
"It is refreshing to hear that you and your organization and the people who contribute to OTA support us. It is hard sometimes when we turn on the news or open a newspaper to see so many people not supporting us or the cause we fight for."
"On behalf of myself and the Marines around me, we thank you for your generous gift and unwavering support". ~ Lcpl S. Y
"We are grateful for your organization's generosity and to have people like you support us". ~ Lcpl N. C
"Thank you for your support. It's an honor to serve our great country. In the last year, our FOB has improved dramatically because of organizations like yours. Thank you so much! ~ Sgt. K. B., Army
"Thank-you very much for your support! Without the help of organizations such as yours, our duties would be a lot tougher and lonelier. We are bombarded every day with such negativism against why we are here and what we are doing. It is such a joy just knowing someone cares about us, the Soldiers just doing our "jobs."
"We have received the box of Wiley Xs and the box of snacks and toiletries. Thank you very much. It's thoughts and deeds like this that help Soldiers keep faith in the American people.Tell every one how much we appreciatetheir efforts." ~ SFC M. B, Army
"Thanks for taking such good care of our platoon. You have been very generous. Your care packages are the best! Thank you!" ~ Sgt. B.T., USMC
"My best friend in the world was killed over here in April of 2004. That was at the end of my first tour. When I returned home, I was immediately extended for a second. My friend is resting at Arlington National now. When I leave the army and go there to give him one last salute, I will be able to conjure reasons for his being there. People like yourselves will be those reasons. The sort of people who would write a letter to someone they've never met. Mere words in my terrible handwriting cannot describe the situation fully. Thank you once more and may God also bless all of you."
"Wanted to extend to you and your organization a very grateful thank you. The phone card is greatly appreciated, but more importantly, knowing that Americans like yourself have the troops in their thoughts is more so. "
"I want to tell you how very much I appreciate the t-shirts and socks your group sent to the soldiers of the 201st. The weather is extremely hot in Iraq, and sometimes the temperatures reach 140 degrees F. The items will make the soldiers a little more comfortable during their missions. When I read your letter, it made me realize again why we are here in Iraq. When we have the support of citizens like you, there is no Army that we can not defeat or situation that we can not overcome. Your kind words of encouragement means a lot to us, and renewed our dedication to the mission our Country has given us. Please extend my sincere thanks to everyone who participated in the project, and assure them they have made a difference in our lives. "
"I cannot begin to express my gratitude for all the hard work and support you have shown the troops. Clearly, you have spent a great deal of time, energy and money on behalf of the American soldier. Since my arrival here in Iraq, I have seen such incredible support and generosity from people such as yourself. It makes me proud to be an American. And true Americans like yourself make our time in Iraq all worthwhile. "
"Thank you for the Under Armour tee shirt and also for the support from back home. It means a lot and is really appreciated. "
"Thank you so much for the Under Armour you have sent us. In the desert heat, inside an armored humvee where temperatures reach over 150 degrees, they are a godsend. We certainly appreciate this gracious gift and commend you for what you are doing, supporting the troops who are far from home. We will never forget. Thank you so much. "
"Thank you and your organization for the Under Armour tee shirts! The socks are great, too! We appreciate all the support although we can't wait to get home, we get through each day by remembering all the friends and family who care for us. God bless you and America! "
"People like yourself and the other volunteers are what make our country great and for that I'll continue to fight. "
"To read your letter makes me feel good for being a soldier in the Army of the United States. It is patriots like yourself who make it worthwhile for what needs to be done. I was with the 82nd Airborne Division during Vietnam. Back then it was a pretty dark time to be an American soldier. That is why you and your group will be in mind and I will be forever grateful for what you all have done for my men."
"With all of my heart, I would like to thank you for such a fine organization. OTA will always be in our prayers and thoughts. Because of your organization, there are soldiers fighting here in Iraq that know someone knows and cares what we are doing."
"Thank you for all the support and hard work. Your generous contribution to let us know you care boosts our morale immensely and we wanted you to know that. God bless. "
"There are many reasons to be here in this hostile land, but the best reason I can think of is people like you that care to make a difference in the life of someone you don't even know. "
"You can't imagine how something like this really puts a smile on a soldier's face and lets him know that somewhere out there someone appreciates what he is doing. There are times that we wonder if anyone remembers us or cares where we are or what we are doing, but things like this make us remember why we are here and that is to defend freedom for all our family and friends at home. "
"These t-shirts and socks may seem meaningless to many, but they are a treasure to us. I cannot express my gratitude enough. I have been serving in the armed forces for more than 14 years and was a bit choked up when I read your letter. Just when you think that the American public doesn't care, someone like you does something like this and makes us remember why we serve. So please, sleep peacefully at night knowing we are out here ensuring all is well in the world. God bless you for your kindness. "
"I received a pair of socks and an undershirt, and both were needed and I wish to thank you and all the others. Your letter made a lot of us feel good about ourselves and the job we have to do. "
"My heart soars with pride to represent a country filled with such wonderful people as yourselves. "
"The life of a soldier, especially in a place such as Iraq, is indeed not always pleasant. It carries with it a share of heartaches. But I remind myself and the other soldiers, that one of the upsides has always been the unwavering and loyal support from citizens like you. Please know that the fellow soldiers and myself will always carry a grateful remembrance of your kind consideration for us. "
"A HUGE thank you to you and your organization! Thank you for your time, effort, and thoughtfulness. I hope and pray that your organization continues to grow and be successful so that other deployed soldiers will be able to benefit from your kindness as did the 1000 soldiers them. Many thanks, take care, and God bless you all! "
"I want to thank everyone involved in Operation Troop Appreciation. What you are doing is a wonderful thing. The phone card came at the perfect time right in time for the holidays. Thank you so much again! God bless you! "
"Thank you so much for your care package but thank you even more for your patriotic letter and self sacrifice. I am truly proud to be serving America and you. Your organization is much appreciated. "
"Thanks for the phone card and the letter of appreciation. Thanks for the hope that you've given us and the strength to drive on. Sometimes all it takes is a letter from someone you don't even know to inspire one to lift his/her spirits and keep pushing forward. "
"The outpouring of support and gestures of kindness have made my being over here in this country [Iraq] a lot easier. "
"You do not know but you took your time, energy and money to make my life here in Iraq a little more pleasant. If it were not for people like you back home, it would make this deployment more difficult. But with people like you it makes things a little easier knowing you are supported back home. May God bless you, all of you. "
"It feels so great to know people back home think of us and appreciate what we are doing over here! Thank you so much. "
"Even a small thing like a letter can give the motivation needed to continue another day. "
"Know that you and the individuals involved are doing your share in support of our troops. We may be the front line but you folks help us achieve our mission. Morale for soldiers is top priority over here. Support back home maintains that soldier's focus. We have been blessed with excellent patriotic Americans like yourselves. You wear the colors that we represent and you folks should wear them proudly for your thoughts, prayers, and packages protect us here. "
"Thank you and all the others for the Under Armour tee shirt. What most people take for granted back home is a true asset to us. It makes me proud to be an American soldier when I get to protect people like yourselves and the many others who keep us in their thoughts and prayers. "
"Thank you very much for the gifts of Under Armour tee shirts and socks.Thanks to all members of Operation Troop Appreciation your thoughtfulness and wishes help sustain us over here "
"We receive the Under Armour t-shirts and boy was everyone happy! What a difference they make! Just want to express from all the 1/201st soldiers here in Iraq a great big Thank You to all for doing this and showing your support to help make it a little better for us. We at the 1/201st are very proud to be here and serving for the cause of freedom. We are also very proud of you and Operation Troop Appreciation. What a difference for a soldier fighting on a foreign land to know he is loved and supported by people like you and his country. Thank you all for remembering us and keeping us in your prayers. "
"Thank you very much for the Under Armour t-shirt! I greatly appreciate it! America is not great because of her soldiers, but because of how American treat their soldiers. "
"Please share my appreciation with the other volunteers in Operation Troop Appreciation. In our eyes and hearts, YOU ARE HEROES, because we define heroes as those who put others above themselves through selfless service and sacrifice. That is what I see you all as. Thank you. "
"THANK YOU! Everything you do makes such a huge difference over here. It's amazing the small little things you take for granted over in the States; when you receive them over here, it is magnified ten-fold. You can't see the immediate results, but I can, and that's why I'm telling you. "
"On behalf of my platoon, I want to say thank you and may God bless you for everything that you are doing. "
"Just a note of thanks for all of your support. We here appreciate all you do back home for us. Keep up your hard work because there are a lot of us here. "
"Hello from a grateful soldier in Iraq. I received your care package about a week ago and can't say enough for what you are doing for us. I want to thank you for all you have done and will continue to do for us soldiers. I am truly grateful and wish your organization the best. Tell everyone who helped you that what they do means a lot from 10,000 miles away. "
"I cannot begin to express the gratitude you have earned not just from myself, but everyone here. Your efforts have deeply touched us soldiers over here. Please be assurd that your efforts did not go unnoticed. "
"I means a lot to me and the rest of the guys here to have the support of so many people back home. If you could give all the nice folks who helped to make all this possible my thanks, it would mean a lot to me. "
"Thank you for the gifts. They are truly appreciated. You are all true patriots. "
"Thank you! You don't know me, and yet you have given me a great gift. I now have my first Under Armour, thanks to you and all of the others who contributed. Your generosity and the generosity of the others are part of what makes our country worth fighting for. Knowing that there are people who are willing to support us, helps us in what we are doing. "
"It is the support of those back home that allow us to endure our deployment and the separation from our friends and family. I hope you will continue to support those who make sacrifices for our great country. "
"Words can not express how grateful we are for your contribution and support. You are doing a wonderful thing. "
"I wish more Americans thought of their servicemen and women like you wonderful people did. It is really nice to know that people really care and do not take our soldiers for granted. Make sure that everybody that donated towards this wonderful thing knows that the soldiers really appreciate what they have done for them. "
"I wanted to write to you and thank you on behalf of my Force Recon Company and myself for the very thoughtful gifts of Under Armour t-shirts and socks. It is because of your organization and the many men, women and children back home, that we are able to do our jobs. The love and support that we receive from citizens like you is a continual reminder of why we are here and exactly what we are fighting for. "
"I got your package with the Under Armour t-shirt. Thank you so much for doing that for me! It's people like you all that makes being here easier. Every time I get aggravated or hot, sweaty and tired, I think of you all and the other people I'm here for. I appreciate it and am sure all the other soldiers do, too. You make the sacrifices I'm making worthwhile. "
"I want to thank you and all the others that I appreciate the shirt provided by your organization. It makes a big difference to my fellow soldiers and myself when people at home like you all show us that we are here for a reason and are being appreciated by folks back home. To the soldiers here, people like you and the others in your organization are the true heroes. Thanks to everyone for the shirt, the effort, and time they devote to helping us. "
"I can't tell you my surprise when I got your letter and the box of popcorn and to find a DVD inside as well. It reassures me that there are people out there that I have no problem serving."