The Jack Daniel Distillery recently launched the Operation Ride Home campaign, an effort to assist soldiers and their families in traveling home for the holidays. The distillery has joined forces with the Fort Campbell Armed Services YMCA and will work with military officials at the installation to identify soldiers and families with particular needs and financial assistance for travel from the base to their homes throughout the U.S. this holiday season.
In honor of the decorated 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Jack Daniel’s has donated $101,000 to launch the campaign and is encouraging its friends to visit a dedicated website to contribute what they can to the effort. The Armed Services YMCA will be purchasing plane tickets and providing prepaid debit cards for gas, lodging and food for soldiers and their families to travel to their family homes. The 101st Airborne Division has members serving from all over the U.S. and has been on multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“There are so many enlisted soldiers with families who would love to go to their homes for the holidays, but just don’t have the means to do it,” said Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett.
“These heroes have been serving our country on multiple deployments overseas and we just want to do what we can to help reunite them with their families during this special season. After all, it’s not what is under the Christmas tree, but who is around it.”
Armed Services YMCA Executive Director Shirley West said the Operation Ride Home campaign could potentially help hundreds of soldiers and their families travel to their respective homes from Christmas through the new year.
“The military does an out-standing job getting our soldiers back to base from deployments, but unfortunately so many of them just don’t have the money to leave the base – whether that’s money for a plane ticket if they live far away from the base or even gas money if they’re closer to Fort Campbell. This campaign will be a huge help in reuniting these families,” West said.
Armed Services YMCA of Fort Campbell is one of 16 dedicated branches of the ASCY national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It provides support services to military service members and their families all over the world, with a particular focus on junior-enlisted men and women — the individuals on the front lines of defending our nation.
The Operation Ride Home effort continues Jack Daniel’s longstanding support of our nation’s military. In recent years, Jack Daniel’s has been collecting personal messages of support in the form of “toasts” to include in USO care packages, and has hosted 14 “stuffing parties” at military installations across the country. More than 150,000 care packages have been sent to troops serving overseas through the Toast to the Troops program.