As I sit down to write my annual Thanksgiving message, I’m grateful for all of the people in my life. First and foremost, this includes my family, three grandchildren, friends and everyone who works on my team. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by the people I have in my life.

Next week, Tuesday, November 28th is #GivingTuesday, and so my mind is also focused on helping spread opportunities to help each other. The reality is that we’re all in this (life) together, and we have to support one another.

So, today, in my Thanksgiving message to you, I’d like to write a little about Operation Paperback. This week, as you sit with your family and friends to a great dinner, remember that thousands of men and women in the U.S. military will not be home for Thanksgiving because they’re deployed around the world. Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives will be overseas serving our country, and the planet, and there will be empty seats across America for them at the Thanksgiving dinner table. And, countless veterans will forever be owed a debt of gratitude by all of us.

How You Can Help a Soldier

As we enter the holiday season again, including #GivingTuesday, you have the chance to support our men and women overseas with a book. Operation Paperback provides our military with books. If you spend a few moments going through their Thank You notes from soldiers and families, you see how grateful they are to receive the books in the mail.

The non-profit organization was founded in 1999 and to date has shipped over 2.2 million gently used books to American troops who are stationed overseas, and also to veterans and military families here in our country.

There are two ways to support Operation Paperback.

  1. You can provide a financial donation. A gift of $5 will ship a medium-sized box of books to our military anywhere around the world. A donation of $20 will help the organization purchase and ship particular genres of books that are in high demand.
  2. You can also register to become a volunteer shipper. When you become a volunteer shipper, you are then able to log-into their automated “Volunteer’s Corner” system and request addresses based on the genres of the books you have on hand. You will also be able to print out shipping labels so you can then head to the U.S. Post Office and mail the books.

If you have a moment, scroll through some of the thank you notes that were sent by our military men and women and their families for the books that they received. Here are just a few:

The books y’all send really help me and other soldiers in the unit. Thank you guys. Your effort is definitely appreciated – By: Michael R. (Afghanistan)

Thank you so much for the books! My son really enjoyed receiving a package full of books that he likes! It was very very much appreciated. Thank you so much for this program to help active duty families!

By: STACEY (United States)

 Dear Col C: Thank you so very much for the very generous donation of books you were kind enough to send our way! So many good titles! Let me apologize for the tardiness of this note; our operation here in Honduras was already running at a very high OP Tempo before the hurricane hit Haiti and we are only now beginning to return to normal. Our soldiers, sailors and airmen are very grateful to you. The new titles flew off the shelves and we are very happy to have them. We have a special group of Marines temporarily assigned to Soto Cano presently and the extra books we have on hand, thanks to you, has been especially helpful. Thanks again for your generosity and for thinking of us.

By: Benjamin B (Honduras)

As Thanksgiving Day draws near in a couple of days, we’ll gather with our friends and family. Most of us will be around dinner tables across our country, or afterward watching the annual football game. But, let’s not forget the men and women in our military, especially those who will be far from their families during the holidays. Let’s remember their families and also the brave veterans of our country.

Finally, if you are associated with the military, Operation Paperback wants to make it easy for you to receive books. Simply click here to receive books and complete your information.

Have a Happy and safe Thanksgiving Day!


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact” (Free Digital Download)

© 2017 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.