Article from the Ventura County Star, Dec 18, 2013
Gift giveaway for military families greeted with appreciation
Operation Snowflake got underway for its first run ...“The idea is to really help military families who are having trouble making ends meet,” said Kim Evans Logie, the founder of Operation Snowflake and director of the Ventura County Military Cooperative. “This is born out of an idea to just give back to families who sacrifice so much and to make sure they have a chance to provide presents for their kids and to let them know we care.” Event founders and servicemen and women and their families gathered at the Ventura County Community Foundation in Camarillo for the giveaway Tuesday. Evans Logie said that the cost of the event was around $100. Organizers advertised it online and then a flood of donations of toys and gifts of all kinds came their way.
“We had to close registration online after about an hour and a half because we filled up that quickly,” she said. Among the donors were Toys for Tots, Ventura South Rotary Club, Camarillo medical supply company GSMS Corp. and the Ventura College athletic department, which donated footballs, basketballs and other sports equipment as gifts. Evans Logie said organizers and volunteers wrapped many of the gifts in nondescript bags so that if parents wanted, they could put the gifts under their Christmas trees. About 100 people attended the first Operation Snowflake.
“We want the kids to know the gifts came from their parents, not us,” she said. As Daniela Orozco, an airman 1st class with the California Air National Guard 146th Airlift wing watched her son Seth, 6, and her godson Sammy Negrete, 2, played with new Hot Wheels cars. “I have a lot of gratitude for these people who put this together,” she said. “I feel like I’m making a difference in the job I do for my country and my home state and this event is making a difference in my kids’ lives.” Gary Erickson, chairman of the community foundation board and vice chairman of the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, said he was pleased that Operation Snowflake was as well attended as it was. “The response has been phenomenal,” he said. “What we expected is that people wanted to come out and help veterans and we were right.” Jerome Gutierrez, of Oxnard, a disabled veteran who served as a weapons training specialist in the Army for 13 years, said he was happy to have his wife, Theresa and three of his five children at the event.
“It’s so awesome they’re doing this,” Jerome Gutierrez said. “When I know that someone is looking out this way for my family, it really makes me happy.” Gutierrez is unemployed and is in the process of looking for work as well as a new home. “I’m getting help from the Veterans Administration. But I couldn’t ask for more,” he said. “My older son is going to college, and the military gave me, and now I can give my kids, a sense of direction and how to complete a mission.” Tasara Vega, whose husband Efrain Vega is a construction mechanic, seaman 1st class in the U.S. Navy, expressed her appreciation for the efforts of the military cooperative. Her husband is not currently deployed. “It feels good to know that families of people who serve are being cared for,” said Tasara Vega. “It’s a lonely life when your significant other is gone and it’s just nice to have people who care for you and your children.” Gerardo Sanchez, a member of Ventura South Rotary Club, said that he grew up in Oxnard, but it wasn’t until he moved to San Antonio, Texas for a job that he saw military appreciation. “When I came back, I really wanted to do something to honor our service members and vets,” Sanchez said. “So this is our first event. We decided to start working with veterans and made calls. We’ve been able to donate gift cards and bring in people to help with registration and such.” Evans Logie, whose husband Mike Logie is a master chief in the U.S. Navy Reserve, said that she and her family feel so blessed. “But there are many in the service who aren’t, and we wanted to help, to give back to them and give them the help they need.”
Mr. P is a 91 year old WWII Army paratrooper who is suffering from Prostate Cancer. Mr. P served with the Army 515th Parachute Infantry Regiment from 1942- 1946. He was deployed to France during the War. He separated from the Army with an Honorable discharge at Fort Macarthur CA. He lives with his wife in their home in Ventura. The house is in disrepair and has some major issues that we are working on trying to get repaired
This wonderful couple is in need of a few major things:
The back window of their truck (their only transportation) was broken out and the deductible is $500. This truck is used to transport Mr. P to his many medical appointments. We would like to get this resolved quickly so that rain does not damage the interior of their truck.
They are also in need of some financial assistance. Due to the VA being so far away they have medical bills from local Dr. appts and hospital stays. We would like to raise an additional $1000 to help alleviate this debt.
They have very little money left to live on monthly. Please help us raise $1500 plus dollars for this Veteran who served his nation when he was called upon.
To donate to this veteran or any of the Ventura County Military Collaborative program please visit our Donate page. We are a non-profit which means your donation is tax deductible. 100% of funds go directly to support the military and veterans in Ventura County through either direct assistance (emergency gift cards and funding) and/or our many programs.