Being separated from loved ones during deployment is a hard fact of life for military service members. That separation is made harder during the holidays. That’s why this past December the Veterans Employee Resource Group came together to provide deployed service members with a gift of support and good wishes over the holidays.

VERG Co-chairs Stephany Tone and Ayla Quesada launched Operation Holiday Cheer to create care packages for deployed service members. “I remember what it was like spending the holidays on a deployment to Afghanistan when I was 19,” Ayla Quesada explained. “Getting mail and care packages was the best! I loved getting snacks and cookies but would spend hours writing to people who sent letters and cards. It makes you feel loved and supported, like people haven’t forgotten about you. It can be a happy break in what can otherwise feel bleak.”

Volunteers met on December 19 to assemble care packages and sign notes of support. The team built nine care packages this year, with plans to increase that number for the next holiday season. The packages were donated through Operation: Care and Comfort.

“I am very proud of the continuing innovation and energy Stephanie and Ayla bring to the VERG,” said VERG’s executive sponsor David Von Damm, Division Director for Security and Emergency Services. “This event was not only a great way to give back to the military community but it turned into a productive in-person networking event as well!”

Are you a military veteran or a family member of a service member? Are you a supporter of the Lab’s veteran population? The Veterans Employee Resource Group welcomes all Lab employees with a focused mission of supporting both current and former military personnel and their families.

1 Comment

  • Liz Stuart says:

    Wow! I am so moved by hearing about this beautiful initiative from VERG! Thank you so much VERG for making a difference at the Lab and beyond! This warms my heart!