Eight years ago, a friend from high school was deployed to Iraq, so I decided to send him some packages around the holidays. When I requested 10 empty boxes from the post office, however, I mistakenly ordered 10 cases — with 25 boxes each.
Giving the extras back to the post office wasn’t a problem. What they told me, though, was: “We’ll use them … eventually.”
To me, every one of those boxes represented someone protecting our freedoms. Knowing they might receive a package “eventually” wasn’t good enough. That’s when Operation G.R.I.T.S. was born.
I live in a very generous and patriotic community, and I knew that people would embrace this program. “G.R.I.T.S.” stands for “Gifts Raised In The South.” We raise money to fill and send boxes to our service members overseas, and we help pay the postage on boxes that others fill, too. The first year we sent 325 boxes, and we average around 500 a year now. This year, with a local National Guard unit deployed in Kuwait, we’re hoping to send 1,000 boxes or more.
I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can support the community both personally and through my business, Reed Insurance. Our office serves as the headquarters for Operation G.R.I.T.S., and the agency and our employees are involved in a variety of ways — from buying items for boxes, to packing and getting them out the door. They participate in fundraisers, promote the program in the community, and just do anything they can to help. A lot of our customers get involved, too.
We support other local and national charities as well, encouraging employees to step up and help whenever the need arises. Our philosophy when it comes to giving is simple: If we put our time and money where it matters most, we all benefit.
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