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Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit that assembles and sends care packages to troops serving overseas. To commemorate the occasion of its 300,000th package sent, Jeep ensured that particular box would contain a little extra "Thank You" in the form of keys to a brand new 2008 Jeep Liberty. Spc. Michael Gallagher (right), a vehicle commander from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division is currently stationed at FOB Warhorse in Baquba, Iraq. His name was the one randomly placed on box # 300,000. When informed by his CO that his attendance was required at a ceremony acknowledging the delivery, Gallagher recounts, "I thought it was just another care package and they were making a big deal about it because it was the 300,000th one." When he opened the box to find a letter from Chrysler and the Jeep keys, he realized exactly what the big deal was all about. Spc. Gallagher gets to pick up his new wheels when he returns to the States. While his new Liberty may be "Trail Rated," it won't hold a candle to his current work vehicle's off-road capabilities. Congratulations to him, a tip of the cap to Jeep for making his day, and thanks to the other men and women in uniform serving today. If you're interested in donating time or money to Operation Gratitude, you can get additional details here.
[Source: Jeep]

PRESS RELEASE:
Soldier Serving in Iraq Surprised with Keys to an All-new 2008 Jeep® Liberty

  • Keys placed in 300,000th Operation Gratitude care package delivered to Specialist Michael Gallagher at Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Iraq on Jan. 22
  • Vehicle donated by Jeep brand as an expression of gratitude to all those serving overseas

Auburn Hills, Mich., Jan 24, 2008 - Specialist (Spc.) Michael Gallagher from Fort Lewis, Wash., and currently serving in Iraq, found a nice surprise in the package he received from Operation Gratitude on Jan. 22. The non-profit organization that sends care packages and letters of support to troops deployed overseas personally delivered its 300,000th package, containing keys to an all-new 2008 Jeep® Liberty vehicle, to a surprised Spc. Gallagher at Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Iraq.

The package was delivered by Operation Gratitude's founder, Carolyn Blashek, and director of operations, Charlie Othold.

"When my commander ordered me to show up to this ceremony, I thought it was just another care package and they were making a big deal about it because it was the 300,000th one," said Gallagher. "When I opened up the envelope (containing the keys to the Jeep inside), it completely blew my mind."

The Jeep brand, with its long history of supporting the military, donated the vehicle as an expression of gratitude to all the men and women currently serving with the U.S. military overseas. In addition to the Jeep Liberty keys, the package contained a letter from John Plecha, Director–Jeep Marketing and Global Communications, and other gifts from U.S. citizens and companies that generously support the operation.

Addressed to "Dear American Hero," Plecha's letter read, "As the recipient of the 300,000th Operation Gratitude care package, the Jeep brand is delighted to award you a Jeep vehicle of your own as a symbol of our appreciation, as you represent all those who bravely go in harms way in service to our country."

Gallagher is a vehicle commander from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Wash. His name was randomly placed on the 300,000th package. He will receive his new Jeep Liberty upon returning to the U.S.

With its origin dating back to WWII, the Jeep brand has long supported Operation Gratitude and the U.S. military. Chrysler LLC recently partnered with The Freedom Calls Foundation to make the company's video conferencing facilities in southeast Michigan available to connect families and soldiers during the holiday season.

Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude (www.operationgratitude.com) is a California-based 501 (c) (3) non-profit, all-volunteer organization that sends care packages of snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan and on military ships at sea. Its mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and to express to all troops the appreciation and support of the American people. The organization sends more than 100,000 care packages every year. Since its inception in March 2003, Operation Gratitude has shipped more than 315,000 packages to American troops deployed overseas.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Good on Jeep!

      Congratulations - and THANK YOU - Sgt. Gallagher. Safe home soon to enjoy it.

      Jeep now just has to do something with that terrible "Rock me gently" commercial. I guess they're going after the Forester audience.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's actually a Dodge Nitro commercial.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It IS a Jeep ad. But, Toledo's error demonstrates that both vehicles are after that trans-gender Forester crowd. Evidently, neither are well enough executed ads to imprint the car they're pitching.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Congrats Specialist Gallagher!

      Keep up the good work over there guys, we're all rooting for you back here on the home front.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Congratulations to the soldier, and thank you from a grateful american to all those who serve our country.

      Good on Jeep/Chrysler for doing this, it is a very generous gift.

      Not all gifts can be as generous all the time, but we Americans showing appreciation and gratitude to those who serve us so well should not be a rare event.

      And please check politics at the door. Soldiers are not policy makers, they are instruments of the policies that others make, and with almost no exception, serve us with honor and sacrifice.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like how they sent him the keys, yet his Jeep is probably 3,000 miles away. haha

      Anyway, Thank you very much Spc. Gallagher! Wishing you and all those who are serving the very best!
      • 7 Years Ago
      hope he enjoys paying income tax on it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Service members in combat zones aren't charged federal or state income tax. I wonder if gifts received in combat zones are also exempt?

      As a soldier who just got back himself, congrats Specialist, and thank you to Jeep and everyone else who sends their support to those overseas.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hope he and the rest of the guys make it home safely. I lost to many friends over there.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Congrats to Spc. Gallagher, and good job Chrysler/Jeep for doing this. Just one question: did you have to make a big deal out of it; publicity stunts don't play nice.

      To the Autoblog editors:

      Close italics tags at th end of the press release.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Congrats, SPC Gallagher. I'm in 4th BDE and I know that battalion's been through a lot and the car isn't going to benefit everybody but it'll be a boost to morale of the unit as a whole. I'm pretty sure he's going to have to pay taxes on it unless Chrysler took active steps to pay for his taxes when he registers the car in his state of residence. Now how do I get Honda to give me an S2000... :P
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hopefully he gets to enjoy his new Jeep sooner than later.
      Given the publicity value of gifting a vehicle to a soldier, some other makes should maybe follow that cue.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Congrats! Hopefully, Jeep/Chrysler was kind enough and forward-thinking enough to pre-pay the taxes on the vehicle, as this could easily bump him up a tax bracket.

      Jeep also managed to find the one customer coming from a cruder ride than a Liberty- a soldier! He'll probably rave about the interior quality ;)
      • 7 Years Ago

      Congratulations to the Solider!

      Jeep should have given every soldier a Jeep it’s the least our country owes them for their service.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Jeep doesn't owe him anything. The government owes him a real reason why he's there in the first place, but that's besides the point.
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