MARYSVILLE — On March 28, 25 volunteers of all ages gathered at the American Legion Post 178 Hall in Marysville to help Operation Desert Comfort meet its goal of assembling 25 care packages to ship to four different units of American military members serving in Afghanistan.
On June 29, 20 volunteers returned to the Marysville Legion Hall, and in spite of their slightly reduced numbers, came close to meeting Operation Desert Comfort’s goal of assembling 50 care packages that Saturday.
“We put together 46 boxes,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Juarez, the founder and director of Operation Desert Comfort, who pledged the care packages would go to eight different units this time, including the four from before, one being the multinational medical unit with which he had served as a hospital corpsman in Afghanistan. “This time, we added protein bars and more meal stuff, like canned goods, since the drawdown has reduced their hot meals to two a day.”
“If it wasn’t for the things we’ve been sending them, they’d be eating MREs all the time,” Operation Desert Comfort Board Secretary Lisa Perdue said.
Juarez so cherished the care packages of food and hygiene supplies that he received during his own overseas deployment that he began planning shipments to send to his fellow service members before he’d even returned from Afghanistan in September of last year, and he partnered with the Turning Point Church in Marysville to launch the nonprofit Operation Desert Comfort that October, barely a month after he’d gotten back home.
“The least we can do for those who are laying down their lives for our country is to bring them some of the creature comforts of home,” Operation Desert Comfort Assistant Director Jodi Covington said. “When you’re having a really bad day out in the field, like Anthony did some days, it can make such a difference when someone you don’t even know cares about you enough to donate their time and resources to try and brighten your day. What we do, though, is nothing compared to what they do, and the sacrifices they make on our behalf.”
Donors can make their checks payable to Turning Point Church “Operation Desert Comfort,” and Juarez may be reached by phone at 661-246-5846, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.