Foundation Offers Thanks to Veterans

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2007 - It only takes two simple words to express infinite gratitude and appreciation to the nation's veterans, past and present, according to The Thank You Foundation's mission statement.

"We believe that a simple 'Thank You' can transcend political and religious differences to let those who have served know that they are appreciated," said John Guinn, president and founder of the Ohio-based organization.

The Thank You Foundation may offer a verbal "Thank You," but it works to make that gratitude a bit more tangible, as well.

"Our Thank You Card and Certificate program has really been the staple of everything we do," Guinn said. "Any time we can present a card, a certificate and a handshake or a hug, we do."

The Thank You Foundation operates a program called "Tickets for Troops." Through that program, the group recently presented more than 30 soldiers from Fort Drum, N.Y., with tickets to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. The servicemembers, who also received thank you cards from the foundation, were in the Cincinnati area to attend a memorial service for a fallen comrade.

The group also has planned an event with a regional restaurant chain to offer children a chance to sign cards thanking troops for their service. The cards, more than 3,000 of them, will be sent to servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guinn said.

"I think both of these events are the essence of what we are about," he said.

The Thank You Foundation is also one of the America Supports You program's newest members. America Supports You is a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

Already, the foundation has gained credibility because of its association with America Supports You, Guinn said. While that's essential, he's also hoping the benefits don't stop there. "I'm counting on (membership in America Supports You) to increase exposure and networking opportunities," he said.

Exposure and opportunity both will help the Thank You Foundation reach its goal of offering a simple expression of gratitude.

"We want the public to remember our heroes more than twice a year," Guinn said. "We encourage people to stop and say 'Thank You' to the World War II veteran one more time (and) to help change the name of the 'Forgotten War' and thank those who served in Korea."

Vietnam veterans, he added, need to hear the words "Thank You" - perhaps for the first time. "And of course our young men and women of today need to know they are appreciated," he added.

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