Operation Mom

Military Family Support
Stacks Image 270603

KTVU Channel 2 Television
reviews Operation Mom

Operation: MOM' Brings Touch Of Home To Troops

POSTED: 6:40 p.m. PST February 23, 2003
UPDATED: 6:43 p.m. PST February 23, 2003

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. -- Like other mothers with sons and daughters serving overseas in the U.S. military, Donna Whitehouse is very aware of the controversy being stirred up by the potential war with Iraq.

But she hopes the massive protests won't overshadow the needs of the young troops -- like her son -- who are a long way from home.

Whitehouse has joined an unique support group called 'Operation: MOM.' The group was created by two East Bay women with a goal of insuring that no American soldier ever feels forgotten while serving in the Persian Gulf.

About 40 'Operation: MOM' volunteers -- many with children in the military -- gathered Sunday to put together care packages at San Leandro's Bethel Presbyterian Church.

"He doesn't need to get this," said Whitehouse of her son. "He has a lot of support from his family. But, you know, there are a lot of boys over there that don't have family. And so I just wanted to help those kids who don't have a mom and a dad and aunts and uncles and cousins who are going to be writing to them and sending them things."

Nearby, Sylvia Popkin was also packing boxes.

"I worry that they don't think that they're getting support when they see the protesters," Popkin said. "That's what concerns me, that it might get their morale down."

The packages are made up of the kinds of things people at home have been sending overseas for decades -- cookies and candy, other foodstuffs and sundries.

The idea for 'Operation: MOM' goes back to the Blue Star Mothers of World War II, who sent packages to Marines stationed overseas. But 'Operation Mom' is slightly different. Anyone can volunteer and they are sending packages to servicemen and women in all five branches of the military.

'Operation: MOM' co-founder Gloria Godchaux says she thinks that working together helps families and friends here at home too.

"It helps with the worry," she said. "It helps to know that there are other people like us -- other parents, friends, community members -- all participating, supporting us and our kids."

The volunteers plan to ship 100 packages a week. They say that's all the Navy, which is handling transport, can deal with right now.

If you'd like to join 'Operation: MOM,' you can get more information from the group's website www.operationmom.org

This editorial is no longer available on the KTVU website due to the age of the document


KRON Channel 4 Television
reviews Operation Mom


Group Comforts Soldiers, Their Families

Posted: January 20, 2003 at 7:28 p.m.

NOVATO (KRON) -- It is frightening to go to war, but just as scary to stay at home and wonder what dangers your loved ones are facing.

A Bay Area support group is lending comfort to those left behind.

There is no doubt they are proud of their sons. But being a mother with a soldier now being deployed to a possible war zone has become the hardest job in the world.

Dotty Selmeczki's 25-year-old son Casey Calderan is a Marine now serving somewhere in the Middle East.

Gloria Godchaux also has a son in the Marines. 20-year-old Kevin Godchaux, who could be deployed to Korea or the Middle East.

It's the fear for their sons that inspired these two mothers to form "Operation Mom".

It’s a military family support group for Bay Area parents whose sons and daughters are serving in the military overseas.

They have monthly meetings and send care packages and letters.

Operation Mom started right after 9/11 when Godchaux's son was 17 and signed up for the Marines.

Operation Mom is more than just support. They're working on non-profit status to get donations for mass mailings of supplies to all troops who serve overseas four or five times a year.

They're hoping April for their first mailing: requested items like moist wipes, coffee and books.

They are the comforts most take for granted that are in short supply in a war zone.

For information on Operation Mom, go to www.operationmom.org. You can also call
(925) 706-1736.

This editorial is no longer available on the KRON website due to the age of the document

(Copyright 2003 KRON 4. All Rights Reserved.)

January 16, 2003

Operation Mom
East Bay Military Moms Group Together

Jan. 16 — With a huge build-up of troops in the Middle East and thousands more being deployed each week, a group of East Bay mothers decided to show support — for each other and for their sons and daughters overseas. Now, Operation Mom is in full swing and growing.

Dotty Selmeczki, Operation Mom Castro Valley: "My son, he was just deployed on Monday, headed somewhere in the Middle East ... no idea. I can't handle his being gone. It's scary."

There are the photos of the children gone to war and the worries of the mothers that are left behind.

Gloria Godchaux, Operation Mom Antioch: "I think any parent would be upset to know their son or daughter is going into a war situation, not knowing if they'll come back."

These East Bay moms found solace and support in each other and formed Operation Mom right after 9/11. Now, in the face of war, they meet every month to exchange hopes and fears.

Pamela Junkans, Operation Mom San Leandro: "Going to the group on Thursday, we can share our fears and we don't have to tell our kids how scared we are."

This marine says Operation Mom is peace of mind for him.

Kevin Godchaux, US Marine: "It feels good to know my mom's not worrying as much as she could be because she has a support group back home."

But as more troops are deployed, Operation Mom is mobilizing the mailing of care packages — boxes stuffed with donated goods destined for troops overseas — everything from toilet paper to protein bars, and baby wipes and Starbucks coffee. Things to boost morale. The moms are fundraising this winter to raise postage money.

Louise Tamayo, Operation Mom Danville: "The biggest problem is money and packing material."

As more troops are deployed and families are forced to say goodbye, Operation Mom is growing exponentially from San Leandro and Castro Valley to Danville, Walnut Creek and Antioch.

This editorial is no longer available on the KGO website due to the age of the document

For information on joining Operation Mom or helping them with gathering supplies, go to www.operationmom.org. You can also call (510) 909-2714

This editorial is no longer available on this website due to the age of the document

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Operation Mom

Operation Mom serves as a support group for parents, spouses, sisters, brothers, close family, and friends of those securing America's freedom, whether here or afar. It includes all family and friends of those who are active military personnel. For more information, you can call OPERATION: MOM at (925) 706-1736 or visit www.operationmom.org

This editorial is no longer available on the KGO website due to the age of the document

KCBS Channel 2 Television
reviews Operation Mom


November 09, 2009

Operation Mom Idaho Group

Thousands of National Guard soldiers are going overseas.

3,500 members of the 2nd Brigade Combat team of the 34th Infantry Division are located all over Iowa.

But come next year, they will be called to duty - headed overseas to join thousands of other soldiers for service in Afghanistan.

The Iowa brigade will start deploying in the fall of 2010. It will be part of ongoing operations fighting the Taliban. They will also train the afghan national security forces.

The pentagon says the Iowa brigade is being told now to give members more time to get their family and work situations set.

CBS2's Robert Price talked with some families who know the process all too well.

Paula starts a Chapter of Operation Mom, a military family support group in Iowa. (View this editorial by us of the link below)

This editorial is no longer available on the CBS website due to the age of the document


ABC Channel 9 Television
reviews Operation Mom

Story Created: Dec 3, 2006 at 9:23 PM CDT
Story Updated: Mar 16, 2007 at 9:01 AM CDT

CEDAR RAPIDS -- Soldiers serving in Iraq leave behind friends and family for months or even years. Iowa group of Operation mom.

The separation can be tough on everyone, especially mothers.
Many of these military moms don't sleep, barely eat and some even go on medication because they're so worried about their son or daughter.

That's where operation mom steps in.

"It's hard knowing they're in danger every day,” Arlene Young said.

Young's son left for Iraq in July. She hasn't been able speak to him since. 

"I'm sure I'm not the only mom in Cedar Rapids that needs somebody to talk to," she said. 

Paula Kruthoff just invited her to join a support group -- Operation Mom.

"It's a place to come and cry. It's a place to have fun," Kruthoff said.

"I just felt a big sigh of relief when I talked to Paula for the first time," Young said.

"They're in a war zone. We don't hear from them much. Our hearts are in so much pain. We live every day fighting a war in our minds and in our hearts," Kruthoff said. 

Barb Hesse says the group helped her stay sane when she couldn't stop worrying.

"It's a godsend. I think any mother with a son or daughter in the military would understand you're a basket case," Hesse said.
Most of the mothers try to do whatever they can to take their minds off the war.

Operation Mom gives them a place to vent, to cry, to laugh and to just talk.

"I just feel like now when I'm having a bad day, I can talk to somebody who's had those bad days and isn't looking at her watch saying, 'I've got someplace else to go,'" Young said.

The mothers say friends just can't understand what they're going through.

Operation Mom helps them survive mentally while their sons put themselves in physical danger.

The group also sends gift boxes and presents to the troops in Iraq. Arlene Young plans to start a Cedar Rapids chapter in January.
This editorial is no longer available on the ABC website due to the age of the document

KQOW Channel 18 Television
reviews Operation Mom

Operation Mom

Mar. 16 - Operation Mom serves as a support group for parents, spouses, sisters, brothers, close family, and friends of those securing America's freedom, whether here or afar. It includes all family and friends of those who are active military personnel. For more information, you can call OPERATION: MOM at (510) 909-2714 or visit www.operationmom.org.

This editorial is no longer available on the WQOW website due to the age of the document


KQAM Channel 8 Television
reviews Operation Mom

Hafa Adai KUAM,

My name is Patty Manalisay Harris, a Chamorro who was born and raised in California, but with strong heart-ties to the beautiful island of Guam and its people.

I came across your website last night while cruising the internet in search of Guamanian soldiers serving in Kuwait/Iraq. My husband army reserve unit, based in Pleasanton, California was activated/deployed in January and we are both very involved in the 91st Division HHC’s FRG (family readiness group). We are fortunate, however, that my husband is still doing duty in the continental USA, but we are supporting our troops worldwide. While helping to support family members of deployed solders during the last few months, we discovered that there is an organization called “Operation MOM” that originated from northern California. Operation MOM was founded by two mothers who sons are in the Marine Corps, currently serving in Iraq but also served in Desert Storm. They send “a little bit of home” in a really nice care package to our soldiers serving overseas. However, due to the DOD (Department of Defense) restrictions imposed during this war, they are only able to send care packages to soldiers that they have actual addresses for.

I have spent the last few weeks gathering items and money to help with the Operation MOM effort. I have approached businesses and individuals and was able to purchase over $500 worth of hygiene and snack products (nothing in comparison to what Operation MOM has in their warehouses already!) and about 200 shoe boxes from local shoe stores. Yesterday I spent 5 hours assembling care packages (about 150 or so) and am about to leave to help do more this morning. Care packages that we sent yesterday included: socks, tshirt, washcloth, sunscreen, chapstick, bandaids, batteries, shampoo, soap, razor, shaving cream, aspirin, baby wipes, antibacterial gel, snack items (jerky, gum, granola bars, powerbars, candies, corn nuts), a small nerf football (to play with and then pass on to an Iraqi child), crossword puzzles, playing cards, a handmade card by an elementary school child and a note from Operation MOM with a poem about how much they are missed.

Why am I writing to you? I want to find out if you can post a message to the families of Guamanian soldiers to inform them of this awesome group. We need more names and APO addresses of soldiers to send packages to. It does not matter which branch of the service, Operation MOM just wants to send them a little reminder that we care about them. Operation MOM WILL NOT sell the names nor will they give to any other organizations. This is strictly a way to reach more solders overseas. They have received numerous calls and emails about how much this means to the troops and have been requested to send more, and often! I would love to include soldiers from Guam in the list of recipients.

Addresses can be added directly on Operation MOM’s website (www.operationmom.org) or sent to me via email. If they are sent to me, I can forward directly to the Livermore group leader (that is the group I have been helping). Operation MOM has a section on their website that allows anyone to sponsor a package (only $10 for shipping, care items have already been donated) and, I believe, indicate who it should be sent to.

Let’s tell our Guamanian/Chamorro soldiers that we are supporting them all the way!

Kind regards,
Patty Harris
510-441-7240 (home)

P.S. I am attaching a card that my son, 8 years old, made for one of the soldiers. I hope you can view it.


This editorial is no longer available on the KUAM website due to the age of the document