The best gift at the holidays is to be surrounded by family and friends. In many ways, our military is one big family, and we are grateful to have some small part in making the holidays special for them. This year, we were able to bring joy to hundreds of military families at our Holiday Toy Drive and Holiday Meals for Military events across the country.

Like us, we hope that by the end of this blog, you will believe in the magic of Christmas and the spirit of the season and the special ties that bind the military community together:

Things may be humming ‘round the clock at the North Pole, but Santa is a huge fan of our military families, and makes sure to visit as many of our holiday events as he can.’


We are pretty sure that this was actually Santa who swung by to hang out with our military and our Nevada Field Office.

What a gift it is to be able to feel the joy and wonder of the season through the eyes of children


Baby’s First Christmas!



Future Hall of Famer.



Definitely on the nice list.



That moment when a child meets Santa…magic. (picture from PhillyDotCom of our PA/DE/NJ Field Office event)



Even the big ones



Self proclaimed “toy tester”…riiiiight.





Gingerbread aprons bring the kid out in all of us.

We’d bet our volunteers would give any veteran elf a run for their money. Along with the joy of meeting so many of our military families, our holiday events give us the opportunity to see up front and personal all of the good in the world. They are the living testament to “be the light or the mirror that reflects it”.


Team Depot supports our mission in so many ways, and bring the fun whenever they volunteer.


Terrific group of ladies from Wells Faro who have partnered with us in our Homes on the Homefront program, awarding mortgage free home to our military and veteran families.


Walmart is contributed cash and in-kind donations worth $250,000 to the 2014 Holiday Meals for Military program and Walmart associates also offered their help to package holiday meal kits. Here, they are visiting with our Carolinas Field Office and soldiers at Ft Bragg


Who needs snow when you have palm trees and spirit? (w/ our Florida Field Office)


Without the support of so many generous supporters throughout the year, we would not be able to have the impact we do on our military families. And as we look forward to 2015, we know that while our mission will continue to be critical for many years to come, with your support, we will always be there to answer the call.

The staff, volunteers and families of Operation Homefront wish you all a holiday season full of light, laughter and love.

 Merry Christmas to all…

And to all, a good night!

All tuckered out in California.

All tuckered out in California.

If you would like to answer the call of our military and their families when they need it the most visit

Answer The Call

or learn about some of the families we are currently helping at

Current Needs

ATC-quote-graphic5Two weeks ago, in a largely unnoticed ceremony, the U.S. and NATO formally brought an end to combat operations in Afghanistan.

This conflict has exacted a heavy toll on our military families. For a generation of brave Americans who fought valiantly for 13 years, more than 5,000 made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and more than 50,000 have sustained injuries. I think we’re all relieved to put that battle behind us, but the fight is just beginning at home.

As an organization born out of 9/11, there’s a very real symbolism for Operation Homefront in the remarks made by U.S. Army General John Campbell, who presided over the ceremony on Dec. 8 in Kabul. General Campbell stated, “As the Afghan National Security Forces have become increasingly capable, we shift our focus from combat operations to building [Afghan] systems and processes to ensure long-term sustainability.”

Long-term sustainability, or the ability to endure, is something all freedom-loving people around the world can easily understand. While we certainly wish the Afghan people well, here at home our focus is on helping our own military families endure, including those who continue to serve, and the veterans leaving the active duty force as our military downsizes.

We’ve seen the needs of these families evolve over 13 years of war. Along the way, we’ve recognized that it isn’t merely good enough to be available in times of crisis. Rather, we also need to help them avoid another crisis in the future. So how do we do it?

In the past two years, thanks to our generous donors, we’ve provided more than $8 million in the form of emergency assistance grants to families in urgent need of help. Well more than 80% of these families have been post 9/11 veterans. We know that periods of financial crisis are rarely solved through one utility payment, rent payment, or providing a week’s worth of groceries.

Managing a tight budget can be a real challenge for any family, let alone military families. So we now require financial counseling – at no cost to the service member or veteran – when they seek assistance from us more than once. It may seem obvious to some, or perhaps an additional burden to a family in a crisis, but the point is to ensure that we’re doing our part to help families move toward a brighter future. And it’s needed now more than ever. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the responsible thing to do.

It’s my hope that while the 13-year war will no longer be something we talk about every day, Americans will never forget the very real physical and emotional scars that these families will battle for decades to come.

At Operation Homefront, we’ll be here, focused on the long-term sustainability of these patriots and their families. I hope you’ll continue to join us as we support them, doing our part to answer the call.

Tim Farrell
COO, Operation Homefront

A Perfect Match

Are you ready to have a “Goode” time giving? Giving Tuesday donations made to Operation Homefront at Answer the Call will be matched, up to $100,000, thanks to some “goode” friends of ours!

Our friends at Murphy Goode like to say that they take their wine seriously, but “ourselves not so much.” Having been honored to work with their amazing team over the last few years, we know they combine world class winemaking with world class wit.

Jump over to their Facebook page, and you will see that not a “holiday” goes unnoticed by the Murphy Goode crew. “National Bad Poetry Day.” Check. “National Nut Day.” Yep, they’re on it. We’re pretty sure if you emailed them with a picture of your cat and one of their vintages, and asked them to help celebrate your kitty’s birthday on their social media, they might just consider it. They’re sassy and cheeky and always up for fun, but throughout it all, you can see that deep down, the Murphy Goode team holds a collection of huge hearts and a zest for life.

Part of that passion includes the desire to give back. And all kidding aside, there is no a doubt that what they do take seriously is support of our country’s military families and veterans.

For the last several years, Murphy Goode has been an exceptional supporter of Operation Homefront’s mission to provide emergency support and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors. From hosting special events to honor families to the creation of a special wine with a portion of proceeds going to Operation Homefront programs, they have demonstrated that the same care and attention, passion and joy that they exhibit in making wine is the same they give to making a difference for those who sacrifice so much for us.

So when we sent out an invitation to #AnswertheCall, they did. In a very special way. And thanks to their very generous support, you can #AnswertheCall today and have an even greater impact. As part of a large effort to raise awareness and support for our military families, today, Giving Tuesday donations made to Operation Homefront at Answer the Call will be matched, up to $100,000.00!

Supporting military families and veterans is a natural fit for Murphy Goode. Winemaker Dave Ready, Jr shares why giving back to military families is so important: “My family has a long military background dating back to World War I, where my great grandfather Bill Ready served in the Army. They were proud to serve our great country and would all be excited about helping our returning soldiers that gave so much for us.”

Just think of all the “Goode” we could do together. You+Operation Homefront+Murphy Goode=Perfect Match!




587px-Omaha_Beach_wounded_soldiers,_1944-06-06The call. They have answered the call since before we were even officially a nation. They answered the call to form a union and then a century later, to preserve a union. They are our service members.

They have answered the call to go to foreign shores: Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently West Africa. They go to fight enemies, defend freedom, and provide emergency response and crisis intervention for those facing unbearable odds. They lay at rest in Arlington, and in small towns, and in places with names like Aisne-Marnes, Belleau Wood. 17,000 in Manila, almost 3,000 in North Africa.

Over 80,000[1] remain Missing in Action.

On average, 22 a day are lost to the ghosts of war that came home with them.

We at Operation Homefront answer calls every day from active duty and wounded, ill or injured veterans. They reach out through email and our social channels. Others reach out for them, becoming a voice when they can’t find theirs. We understand the high cost exacted from service to country. And we are honored to be the one they turn to when they need help. That we can do so is in no small part because there are those who answer the call in other ways. Through donations, volunteering, raising awareness.

Battle-BuddiesWe are dedicating the rest of 2014 to those brave men and women now and over the centuries who have honored us with their service by honoring theirs with our #AnswertheCall campaign.

From January through October 2014, Operation Homefront provided over $4 million in emergency financial assistance to military families, a 23 percent increase from the same time last year. We are meeting more needs than ever, which is why we need your help. Help us #AnswerTheCall this #GivingTuesday


GIVE: Visit our special Answer the Call page for ways to show your support for our military men and women, our wounded warriors and their families. Tomorrow, Giving Tuesday, we’ll have a special announcement on how you can have an even bigger impact on meeting the needs of our military and wounded warrior families. Be sure to check in with us on our Facebook page and blog.

RAISE AWARENESS: Tell us why you will answer the call on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We will showcase messages on our Get Social page. Be sure to use #AnswerTheCall.

VOLUNTEER: Without the dedicated support of volunteers, we would not be able to accomplish our mission. From our special event volunteers to our staff-level volunteers, each person makes a life-changing and immeasurable valuable gift to our families. Find your local Field Office at www.operationhomefront.net

Military life is challenging, and the holiday season can be even more so. Help us let our military know they are not forgotten, and that when they need us, we will be there. Answer the call now.

[1] http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/summary_statistics/index.htm


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Today, the day before Thanksgiving, we’re thankful to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Through all of the sacrifice and time apart, our military men and women themselves are full of gratitude for the life they lead, and we’d like to share some of their thoughts with you:


Thanksgivingblogpic1For some people, it may sound like a cliché, but for me it’s something that I take pride and cherish. (Being in the military)… changed the way I live my life now. Deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, I learned to appreciate our brothers and sisters in arms as well every American citizen that supports us. Every time we are home they give thanks for our service and those words are the strength, courage and energy we need to continue to fight and defend this great nation we call United States of America. HOOAAH!!!!!!

-W, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army


 I am extremely fortunate to have a wife who supports my every move and decision and will stay with me through thick and thin. Being in the military has not only brought my professional dreams to fruition, but has also given me a wonderful life which I wouldn’t change for the world.

-T, Petty Officer First Class, U.S. Navy


Thanksgivingblogpic2I always wanted to be a Marine from a very young age. I cannot remember ever wanting to do anything else. Even for Halloween I always dressed up as a Marine. Serving my Country was (a) top priority of mine. I met my wife at my 1st duty station and we moved all over the Country with the Marine Corps. I was seriously wounded in Iraq and that had a major effect on my family as well as my health. I have many health problems and was medically retired in 2009. I miss the Marines every single day and I wish I could still serve. I do not regret anything that I did, only that I could have done more to serve my Country. I am the proud father of 5 amazing kids and have been married almost 13 years now to my wife. Without the military I never would have met her and I definitely would not have the life I have now.

–D, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps


Growing up I was always surrounded by family. Everyone was close and everyone cared. As I grew, I grew closer and learned what it meant to have family that cared and loved each other. I learned why we have the freedoms we do, and because of those freedoms, we are able to grow together, and live our lives to the fullest. It was my Uncle Mike who taught me these values. I’ve always seen my Uncle as a smart, wise person who always seemed to have everything under control. Mike is now retired from the Air Force, and growing to look up to him, I knew that I wanted to serve just like him. I wanted to be in the same Air Force that taught him to be the person that he is today. One year and two months ago, that dream came true. Living in Guam for the past ten months is and will continue to be an amazing experience. It’s part of a journey that will take me to new places, and teach me new things. Joining the military has left me with no regrets….-J, Airman First Class, U.S. Air Force


To our brave men and women in uniform we say…though duty may keep you away from your friends and family, you are always close to our hearts.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Operation Homefront family.



These are only a few examples of the reasons why our brave men and women in uniform are compelled to answer the call to service, and why they represent the best of America. If you would like to learn more about how you can answer the call when they need it most, please visit





“I don’t know what I would have done without her,” Stephen

Ashley and Stephen Lunt met on an airplane when Stephen was flying back to Japan for a deployment and Ashley was heading back to college. They made an instant connection on that flight and have been together ever since.

Stephen was born and raised in Charleston, S.C. and answered the call to serve in the Marine Corps in 2004. During his time in the service, he was stationed in Japan and at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and deployed three times, twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.

During his deployment to Afghanistan, he was forced to fight an insurgent in hand-to-hand combat. During the fight, the insurgent took a pickaxe to Stephen’s head which caused a great amount of internal damage, and resulted in multiple surgeries and a long and painful recovery. The injuries forced him to medically retire from service.

Ashley stood by him when he returned stateside. She encouraged and helped him through some of the hardest parts of his life. “I don’t know what I would have done without her,” Stephen said.

But Ashley has had her share of heartbreak as well. When they received word that they would likely never have a baby on their own, they were crushed. They resigned themselves to the idea of a childless future.

But something unexpected changed their future forever.

Operation Homefront provided them with a mortgage-free home in South Carolina. Because they no longer had to worry about paying for a roof over their heads, the Lunts were able to set aside the funds needed to undergo in-vitro fertilization and allowed Ashley to conceive her first child. In late 2013, they gave birth to a beautiful, healthy son.

“It really was a blessing for us. If it wasn’t for us getting this house and having that help, we would have never been able to have children,” Ashley said.

In addition to having a new child, Stephen has thrived in his new house. Not only is he closer to his family in South Carolina, but he has also been able to work hard through his recovery to channel his interests into a new career in hydroponic agriculture.

The Lunts were recently chosen to appear on a special military edition of the home makeover show, Designing Spaces. The opportunity was perfect for Ashley. “I majored in construction management in college, and I love to redesign and decorate,” Ashley said. They were excited not only by the improvement to their home but also by being involved in the remodeling process.

Hosted by R. Lee Ermey “The Gunny,” TV and screen actor, and former U.S. Marine Drill Instructor, “Designing Spaces of Hope – Military Makeover” will chronicle Stephen and Ashley’s story and the generous contributors who came together for their home renovation. Airing over three consecutive Fridays beginning this week (Nov. 21), the show appears on the Lifetime channel at 7:30 a.m. ET/PT.

Clearly, Ashley and Stephen have faced and overcome some large obstacles in their life. They may have met thousands of feet in the air, but their future clearly has a strong foundation on solid ground.

vets-day_blog_thumbOperation Homefront is honored to be able to answer the call of our brave men and women in uniform when they need it the most. We are able to do so because of the amazing supporters who stand beside us. If you would like to help answer the call, join us at www.operationhomefront.net/answerthecall


Together we answer the call. Together, we are stronger – and our military families are stronger.

Our military is the best model of teamwork, without exception.

It starts on day one of basic training. What is the most important thing new recruits need to learn? How to work together as a team. It’s important to their success and their survival. And getting there takes work. But once they function as a cohesive unit, enemies fall, lives are saved and battles are won.

Together, they answer the call. For better or for worse, they are in it, side by side. But it goes beyond that.

With a common goal and shared sacrifice, bonds form that last a lifetime. Veterans who we have spoken to in our mission often mention that one of the toughest parts of trading military life to become a civilian is the loss of the comradery, the bonds, and the mission. That kind of connection is tough to find outside the military.

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” At Operation Homefront, we are one of many dedicated organizations supporting our military, veteran and wounded warrior families. Each has a unique mission and varying programs: addressing suicide prevention, advocating to our elected leaders, raising awareness of the challenges of a life in service. We are on the same path to a common goal…to honor and serve those who sacrifice so much for our country.

Operation Homefront can’t serve every need that military and veteran families have. Their challenges and situations are as unique and varied as they are. That’s why it is important to work together with other military and veteran service organizations so that the safety net of support extends as deep as it does wide.

While we work with MANY organizations and government agencies, we have some level of formalized collaborative relationships with the following:

100K Homes

American Legion


American Red Cross

Armed Services YMCA

BBB Military Line

Code of Support

Clearpoint (Credit Counseling Services)

Feed The Children


Goodwill Industries International

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Kids In Distressed Situations

National Military Family Association

Military Child Education Coalition

Mission Continues


Operation Gratitude

Our Military Kids

Semper Fi Fund

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

USA Cares

Wounded Warrior Project

Yellow Ribbon Fund

We can’t say enough how proud we are to work together with others to help military families. Take some time to learn more about their work, and you will find powerful stories of families that were helped, crises that were avoided, or lives that were pulled back from the brink of going hungry or homeless, or both.

Together we answer the call. Together, we are stronger – and our military families are stronger.

vets-day_blog_thumbWhile we have formalized partnerships with the organizations listed above, it is certainly not an all-inclusive list of organizations who do great things for military families. That list would be much longer. There are many amazing small and large non-profits who step up in many ways to answer the call to help military families.



Find out more about how you too can answer the call to help military families at www.operationhomefront.net/answerthecall .


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 158,640 other followers

%d bloggers like this: