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Operation Turkey Drop

Time for Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to AUSA

Northwest Guardian

Published: 03:39PM November 26th, 2013
Time for Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to AUSA

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

AUSA volunteers drop off donated turkeys Nov. 21 at the 3rd Bde. headquarters building on JBLM Lewis Main.

As a young Soldier, retired Sgt. 1st Class Corey Hammond didn’t always look forward to the holiday season. He knew money would be tight in November and December.

That’s why he came to Joint Base Lewis-McChord Nov. 21 for the fourth annual “Operation Turkey Drop,” helping to deliver 395 frozen turkeys to junior enlisted service members across the installation for their Thanksgiving celebrations. The group dropped a dozen or more turkeys at 18 different locations on Lewis Main, Lewis North, McChord Field and Camp Murray.

“It’s an opportunity to help, a chance to give back.” Hammond said. “I couldn’t pass it up.”

Hammond was part of a group of local community volunteers from the Association of the United States Army and the Air Force Association, organizations that support the U.S. Army and Air Force and educate congressional leaders about military issues.

Fourteen local businesses donated funds to purchase the turkeys.

Operation Turkey Drop volunteers began deliveries at 9 a.m. at the Western Air Defense Sector on McChord Field, making a stop at the 446th Airlift Wing before heading to Lewis Main to drop turkeys at several Army unit headquarters. The group then made its way to a few of the large unit headquarters on Lewis North before wrapping up deliveries at about 3 p.m. Dave Radcliffe, owner of The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse in Sumner, donated and drove the delivery truck that hauled the turkeys.

“I’m glad to a part of it,” Radcliffe said.

Air Force Reserve Tech. Sgt. Rachael Garneau understood the importance of the event. She was involved last year as a service member with the 446th AW public affairs office, taking photos for the military. As the spouse of a 1st Special Forces Group Soldier and a former active duty airman, Garneau said Operation Turkey Drop held even deeper meaning for her this year.

“I was taking pictures last year for my job, and now I’m delivering,” Garneau said. “Getting to give back to the service members and visit their units and talk to them, it’s amazing.”

A recent report by USA Today based on an American Farm Bureau Federation annual survey of consumer grocery prices found that a complete, home cooked Thanksgiving dinner costs an average of $49.04, based on feeding 10 people a turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk.

The AUSA has 12 subchapters in communities around JBLM, each supporting one of the installation’s brigades. A new chapter will soon be created in Gig Harbor to support the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, said Carlene Joseph, AUSA president.