America has joined forces with Blue Star Families to honor the service of military service members, families and veterans by pledging more than 15 million hours of community service. Today, we celebrate as this volunteer movement reaches new heights. Thousands of individuals, families, groups, schools, colleges and major national organizations have pledged more than 15 million hours of community service in honor of our nation's military families, veterans and service members. Of the 15 million hours pledged, 13 million hours have already been served.
In 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces and reached out to Blue Star Families to create Operation Honor Cards, an initiative to support and honor our nation's military families with the goal of 3 million pledged service hours. The country’s commitment has been overwhelming and continues to exceed expectations.
Blue Star Families, in partnership with the American Red Cross, Service Nation, Points of Light Institute, and the Corporation for National & Community Service is the driving force behind this initiative.
Together, we celebrate the military family through acts of service – community service in honor of those who selflessly serve our country. The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, long known for their support of the military and military families, both within our borders and around the world, have pledged millions of those hours in honor of those who wear different uniforms. Together with KaBOOM, we’ve built state of the art playgrounds at military installations on both of America’s coasts. The USO, for 70 years an ever-present supporter of the military community, has held book drives so that we can help ensure that the military child has the needed tools to learn and succeed. Operation Gratitude has pledged many service hours under the Battalion Buddy Program (launched last year) to make a difference in the lives of our country's youngest heroes. The stories are endless and remarkable.
Our Blue Star Families CEO, USMC spouse Kathy Roth-Douquet, hit the mark when she said, “As our country unites in community service, our active duty service members, National Guard, Reserves, veterans, and their families will hear and feel a strong message of support. Our military serves us by protecting our country, our freedom. In return, we will serve our communities.”
Brad Cooper, the Executive Director of Joining Forces, added, “We’ve reached a huge milestone… beyond expectations. We join forces and come together to say ‘we honor your service with ours.’”
To commemorate this grand achievement, Blue Star Families will highlight a series of organizations whose service pledge and active community service activities are examples of the exemplary commitment to our community and our military family. In the coming weeks, we will showcase the Girl Scouts of the United States and Boy Scouts of America, the Corporation for National & Community Service, the USO, KaBOOM, Hands on Network, Operation Gratitude, and Mission Continues, and conclude with the American Legion Auxiliary, combined with a new service pledge announcement.
Come join the movement. Every American can pledge their community service hours at www.honorcards.org
Inspired by the First Lady’s campaign for military families, the program aims to create an atmosphere of ‘shared service’ and a WWII sense of ‘all give some’ by encouraging Americans to perform service in honor of military families and veterans.
Sheri Robey-Lapan is the Senior Director of Programs of Blue Star Families.