Operation Care for Troops, 109,944 and Counting …

November 22, 2019


by Len Lathrop

It is that time again when the National Guard Armory in Nashua is overrun with folks from Operation Care for Troops.  Started by Judge Paul Moore, the operation is cared for now by Ted and Deborah Luszey.  Friday afternoon the Luszeys and all the volunteer friends, many who have worked the packaging detail for a couple dozen years, were busily packaging.  They started on Wednesday and by 2 p.m. last Saturday over 1,700 stocking packages were headed overseas to troops stationed all over the world.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) dropped by Friday afternoon learning about Operation Care For Troops and what went into each box.

“I just wanted to come by to show my support for our troops, first and foremost, but also for the volunteers and all the people who make this operation the success it is,” Hassan said.

Since 2003, the Luszeys have been working on Operation Care for Troops; a few years ago Luszey took over as the organization’s leadership.  As president of the nonprofit, they work year round and as Senator Hassan saw on Friday it isn’t only what goes into each stocking, but what is the best way to pack the stocking to get the most they can get into it; two stockings going into a box, and if a small space is seen, a Christmas ornament.

Listening to Deborah speak to workers, the group is now sending packages to returning soldiers in New Hampshire who need a pick-me-up.  New Hampshire VASH (Department of Veterans Affairs Supported Housing Program), OCT also assists with supplying holiday stockings for the children of service families who are transitioning or displaced veterans.  These holiday stockings for local veterans are provided to veterans’ homes and their homeless veteran programs in the Greater Manchester and Greater Nashua areas.  Boxes are shipped by size and not by weight, each cost $20.20, to date over $2 million in donations have been allocated to the cost of shipping.

Two amusing fun facts that are known from years of packing boxes: one, you can ship Ramen Noodles – one package (the cup will not fit)- and two, chocolate in the summer and many products like gum have to be packed in a Ziploc bag or everything might smell like it.

“Operation Care for Troops is a great grassroots volunteer operation led by Ted and Deborah Luszey that gives service members supplies that they can’t get overseas, while also serving as a powerful reminder to our troops that Americans – not just their immediate family – are thinking of them, especially around the holidays. I wanted to come by to help with the care package assembly both to show my support for our brave troops, but also to thank the volunteers who make this operation such a success.”  Senator Maggie Hassan.

People can help support their shipping costs, and/or the nonprofit itself online at their website, www.octnh.org.