Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman joined Adjutant General Thaddeus J. Martin and members of the Connecticut National Guard last week to kick-off the 12th annual Operation ELF (Embracing Lonely Families) program. Operation ELF assists the families of soldiers and airmen who are deployed during the holidays and provides a wide range of support to military families throughout the year.
“We are deeply grateful for the sacrifices made by our military men and women and their families,” said Wyman in a press release from her office. “Operation ELF is a great way to directly support military families, and is part of an overall commitment to improving their quality of life. In conjunction with our workforce training initiatives, expanded educational opportunities, housing assistance, and job placement help, Operation ELF helps create a brighter future for our service members and their families.”
“The Connecticut National Guard holds this generous campaign each year, giving all of us an opportunity to support and say ‘thank you’ to the families of those who are admirably serving our nation and are deployed during the holidays,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy in the press release. “Not only do the men and women serving in the military deserve our utmost respect, but we also wholeheartedly acknowledge the sacrifices that their families make because of their loved one’s commitment to our country. I encourage everyone to give what they can to help those who have given so much to all of us.”
Established in 2003, Operation ELF helps the state’s military families ease hardship and address the stresses of deployment. This year, organizers are seeking gift cards to pharmacies, grocery, department, and home supply stores, as well as donations of fuel oil, snow removal, and other home maintenance services. These gifts are distributed by the Connecticut National Guard Service Member and Family Support Center and used throughout the year. Donors can also participate in the Adopt-A-Family program to provide the most essential goods or services a military family needs such as winter clothing, food assistance, and utility assistance.
“We are very grateful for the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s tireless support of the Connecticut National Guard, their families, and all of Connecticut’s military service members,” said Maj. Gen. Martin, Commander of the Connecticut National Guard, in the press release. “We continue to be humbled by the generosity of the people of Connecticut in supporting the families of our soldiers and airmen—not just around the holidays but throughout the year.”
Thirty-eight Connecticut National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are currently deployed to Southwest Asia. Approximately 225 additional Connecticut National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are expected to deploy overseas in the next 15 months.
Operation ELF donations and gift cards may be dropped off at the following Connecticut National Guard facilities through Friday, Dec. 12 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mailed donations should include the donor’s name, address, and phone number so that contributions can be acknowledged:
Gov. William A. O’Neill Armory, 360 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06105-3706.
Operation ELF donations may be made at the Governor’s Residence Holiday Open Houses held Dec. 5 and 6; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 7; noon to 4 p.m.
Financial donations may also be made through the non-profit Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Inc., c/o 360 Broad Street, Hartford, CT 06105-3796. All donations are fully tax-deductible. Additional questions about Adopt-A-Family, donations, or Operation ELF can be directed to Operation ELF at 1-800-858-2677. Information is also available on Facebook.