Opinion: Operation Minnesota Nice takes edge off sacrifices

his year has flown by.

The season for shoveling

again is quickly approaching

us. It seems like yesterday

we were storing the

snow gear away for the season,

thus the reason for

composing this letter and

plea for donating to a worthy


The holidays are an important

time for celebrating

with family and friends, as

well as reflecting on how

the year has affected us

and our family.

The troops stationed in

the Afghanistan desert are

probably thinking along

those same lines. How are

family and friends doing

stateside? Have the kids

grown much since they’ve

seen them last?

Are their loved ones doing

OK without seeing them on

a daily basis?

The curious thoughts

must run through these

soldiers’ minds.

You probably wake up in

the morning to an annoying

alarm clock or a garbage

truck rumbling through

your neighborhood. Some

troops, overseas in a far

off desert, are jolted out

of a toss-and-turn night’s

sleep to the sound of enemy


Or how about coming out

of a store Christmas shopping

and dodging a small

snow bank or mud puddle

– kind of messy, huh?

Meanwhile, the troops

have to be careful because

of improvised explosive

devices buried just below

the surface of the ground.

Walking on one of these

devices could leave them

permanently disfigured or

take their life.

Think about sitting down

at the holiday table with

family and friends and eating

your fill at the oversized

feast. You have the

opportunity to heap your

plate with all of the fixings:

turkey, mashed potatoes,

dressing, cranberries

as well as countless other

side dishes. Now, imagine

the soldiers as they pull

their bandanas down from

their dirt-covered faces to

tear open a pack or a can

of K-rations and consume

what they can; always

keeping an eye peeled for

the enemy.

The reason to point out

some comparisons is to

show the daily sacrifices

that our men and women

make while being stationed

overseas. They sacrifice on

a daily basis for you and


The reality is that you

could help to make a difference

by donating a gift card

to buy supplies or by giving

a monetary contribution to

pay for mailing the goody

boxes overseas. I hope that

you can dig down and find

it in your heart to help

make the holidays a little

brighter for our troops this


To make a tax-deductible

donation, checks made

payable to Operation

Minnesota Nice can be

mailed to 15084 96th St.

NE, Otsego, MN 55330.

Visit www.operationminnesotanice.

com to find out

how you can volunteer.

Thank you for listening

and caring. And a big

thank you from Operation

Minnesota Nice, which

has shipped hundreds and

hundreds of care packages

to our troops overseas

throughout the years. —

Doug Westholter, Maple