Care Package Recipient to Receive Free Jeep

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2007 - One lucky patriot serving overseas will find another type of patriot awaiting his or her return home, thanks to an America Supports You organization and a Jeep dealers association.

Operation Gratitude packed its 250,000th care package the morning of June 16. The contents included the normal food, comfort and entertainment items, as well as a homemade quilt donated by school children. But the package won't be shipped until one more special gift is added to it next month.

The treasure at the bottom of the box will be symbolic keys to a Jeep Patriot donated by the New York Jeep Dealers' Association. Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude's founder, will receive the keys to include in the package during a ceremony planned for July 16 in New York.

The package, which was packed as part of Operation Gratitude's fourth annual "Patriot Drive," will ship from New York shortly after the ceremony. It's expected to arrive at its undisclosed destination about the second week in August, Blashek said.

Who will receive this exceptional care package is a secret. Blashek knows, but she isn't talking.

"I will reveal nothing," she said.

The milestone moment comes on the heels of the California-based group presenting the recipient of its 200,000th care package with a Dodge Caliber. Marine Lance Cpl. Jordan Richards of St. Louis received the monumental package containing a card proclaiming "This Dodge Caliber is yours," while serving at Camp Fallujah, Iraq, last Christmas.

Operation Gratitude is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

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