Amid forecasts of another bitterly cold Afghanistan winter, Operation Hand-Warmer is back, rallying Augusta residents to donate snacks and heat-trapping clothing to troops overseas.
Starting Wednesday and running through the end of the month, hand- and toe-warmers will be collected at more than 15 locations across the Augusta area.
The project, founded in January 2012, kicked off its second year in early August with staff members and preferred providers from Century 21 Larry Miller Realty and CSRA Home Connections donating hand-warmers, toe-warmers, bubble gum, microwave meals and other items.
In its first year, the effort provided more than 30,000 supplies for American troops, specifically those who faced temperatures of 20 degrees below zero while flying unheated helicopters at 10,000 feet.
“It’s both humbling and rewarding when the commanding officer of the Night Stalkers, night-time helicopter combat crews in Afghanistan, reports that severe frostbite cases have dropped to zero since we started Operation Hand-Warmer,” said CSRA Home Connections’ Burt Sappenfield, who co-founded the drive with Larry Miller Realty.
Along with Larry Miller Realty offices in Evans and Thomson, all eight WifeSaver restaurants in the area will serve as donation points. All local branches of Georgia Bank & Trust will again accept cash donations.
Miller said checks can be made payable to Century 21 Larry Miller Realty with “for Operation Hand-Warmer” on the memo line.
Beasley Broadcast Group of Augusta and KICKS 99 morning man Mike Tyler have agreed to conduct a donation drive from Sept. 23-30 to wrap up this year’s Operation Hand-Warmer.
“We were so blessed and privileged to be able to contribute so significantly to last year’s success,” Tyler said. “And we cannot wait to help Larry Miller and his organizations make life better for our military men and women in Afghanistan this winter.”