Saying thank you
When asked how the San Diego Waves, the local alumni chapter for Pepperdine University, could help USO San Diego at Lindbergh Field the response launched the service member appreciation project “Waves of Appreciation” (WOA) bags. USO San Diego representatives told Reed Reichert, a founding member of the USO WOA bag project, their biggest concern was making sure military men and women have enough to eat while traveling home for the holidays, as many are going home before deploying.
In 2011, the San Diego Waves joined forces with USO San Diego, San Diego residents, local businesses and clubs to create 2,000 Waves of Appreciation bags that were handed out to active-duty service members departing from Lindbergh Field the six days before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Over a total of 10 days, 365 volunteers put in 1,228 hours to assemble and distribute bags filled with granola bars, beef jerky, dried fruit, cookies and other non-perishable food items. However, the WOA bags ran short before the end of the holidays and despite pulling together an additional 500 bags, distribution came to an end several days before Christmas.
Not wanting service members to go without a WOA bag, Waves of Appreciation continues to increase the number of bags they put into the hands of active-duty service members each year.
Through a collaborative effort with USO San Diego and other strategic partners the project continues to grow.
“This program is one of the best partnerships we have ever had,” said Charlotte Jacobs, USO San Diego Board Chairman. “This service member appreciation project is a wonderful way to let our service members know we are grateful for their service to our country,” said Lauren Bullock, co-chair and founding member of Waves of Appreciation. “There’s nothing better than being able to look a service member in the eye and say thank you while giving them a WOA bag.”
“Our paramount goal is to give back and show gratitude to our service men and women as they travel home to see their families,” said Reichert.
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