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LePage declares December as Operation Tribute Month

Governor recognizes Gorham organization which helps military families and children

AUGUSTA – In recognition of the sacrifices made by children of military families, and to highlight the work being done to acknowledge those sacrifices, Governor Paul R. LePage has proclaimed December as Operation Tribute Month.

Launched in 2007, and based in Gorham, Operation Tribute provides a holiday gift to participating children of Maine’s military families, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as the Reserves and National Guard. Since its founding, the non-profit organization has acquired, wrapped and individually distributed more than 16,000 holiday gifts to children in over 140 cities and towns across Maine. More recently, Operation Tribute expanded its outreach to children throughout New England and in other northeast states.

“Sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces must always be remembered and appreciated,” Governor LePage commented. “At the same time, we should also be mindful of the challenges faced by military families – especially the children, and particularly at this special time of year. They are truly unsung heroes.”

The Governor noted that each gift package also contains a letter, often written by another youngster, expressing appreciation, support and understanding. Operation Tribute estimates that there are more than 4,000 children in Maine that have a parent serving in the military during the holidays.

“Operation Tribute does outstanding work in remembering the children, and in recognizing that they too sacrifice and demonstrate bravery. I hope all Maine residents will join me in keeping these children in our thoughts and prayers, and in supporting organizations that address the needs of military families,” added First Lady Ann LePage.

Founded by Marc Badeau, Operation Tribute received the Governor’s Award as Maine’s Outstanding Non-profit in 2011. The organization received a similar award earlier this year in Vermont. More information about Operation Tribute can be found at www.operationtribute.com.

The proclamation language is as follows:

Whereas, in 2007 Operation Tribute was launched in Maine by Marc Badeau to provide a holiday gift to each participating child of Maine’s military families, including Army, Navy, Marine Corp., Air Force, Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard;

Whereas, there are over 4,000 children in the state of Maine that have a parent that serves in the military during the holidays;

Whereas, since 2007, Operation Tribute acquired, gift wrapped and individually distributed over 16,000 holiday gifts to each participating military child in over 140 cities and towns throughout the state of Maine;

Whereas, each package contained a letter which read: “On behalf of Operation Tribute and the people of the State of Maine, we would like to offer you this token of our appreciation for your sacrifice. You are the child of a Maine military family and the bravery that you show every day by sharing your parent to help protect our country is being recognized and honored. You should be extremely proud of your service to our country and should know that we, and the people of Maine, stand proudly beside you. We wish you and your family a Happy Holiday Season!!”

Whereas, in 2011, Operation Tribute expanded throughout New England, New York, New Jersey and Ohio, providing over 34,000 holiday gifts to over 1,800 cities and towns;

Whereas, over 98% of all funds raised were used for the acquisition and distribution of these gifts;

Whereas, the sacrifices and bravery of the children of military families – a group of unsung heroes during these difficult times – have been acknowledged, commended and rewarded by Operation Tribute;

Whereas, no child has ever been refused a gift by Operation Tribute for their service;

Now, therefore, I, Paul LePage, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim the month of December, 2012 as OPERATION TRIBUTE MONTH throughout the State of Maine, and urge all citizens to recognize this organization for the tribute demonstrated for the sacrifice and bravery of the children of these military families.

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