News

America Supports You: Woman Reluctantly Suspends Support Effort

By Paul X. Rutz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2006  - For three years, Anne Galvan has not stopped supporting the troops. Though doctor's orders are now taking her away from her work, she's making sure other groups will pick up where she leaves off.

"4 The Troops," the nonprofit support effort Galvan started in March 2003, will send its last batch of care packages at the end of this month, suspending operations to let her concentrate on her recovery from cancer.

"It's finally gotten through my head that I need to take care of myself before I can take care of the troops," Galvan said today from Los Angeles. "My doctor told me to please take a break, to take a year off. He knows how much this project means to me, and even while I was going through chemotherapy and I was very sick, I was still organizing care package fundraising and doing the Web site."

Galvan said her site will remain on the Internet as a tribute to the nation's servicemembers, but her organization will merge its care package effort with "Operation Homefront," another Southern California nonprofit group. Visitors to "www.4TheTroops.net" will be directed to submit their care package requests to a new project by Operation Homefront, called "Operation Drop Box."

>From September 2004 until this month, "4 The Troops" was a member of "America Supports You," a Defense Department initiative providing grassroots and corporate support to America's troops and their families. Galvan said she hopes people will visit the ASY site because it provides links where troops can find support, and it also highlights opportunities for people on the homefront to volunteer.

"With America Supports You listing all these wonderful organizations, that helps (troops) find help that they need," Galvan said. "Taking a break, I don't feel guilty because I know that there's going to be a lot of other organizations to step up and help."

Since its inception, she said, her group of more than 200 volunteers has sent 8,550 care packages to troops overseas, as well as thousands of specialty items, including sand scarves, goggles, phone cards, televisions, DVD players, microwave ovens, softball equipment, baseball hats, laptops and Web cameras.

After receiving requests from soldiers, the group also sent thousands of clothing articles, shoes and toys to needy children in Iraq and Afghanistan, she said.

"We're a very small organization," Galvan said. "We didn't break any records or anything like that. What we did is provide a personal touch to everything that we sent."

Several organizations have recognized Galvan's work over the past three years. She was named "Inspiring Latina" in the December 2004 issue of "Latina Magazine," "Citizen of the Week" by KNX1070 Radio in Los Angeles, and "Woman of the Week" by CBS News.

Although she has received letters of thanks and support from many deployed troops, Galvan said her continuing motivation to give back to those deployed comes from within her family. Her brother, Air Force Master Sgt. Richard Galvan, remains on active duty after 22 years.

"I'm inspired by his courage and the support that he gives me with this project," she said.

Galvan said she has been continually surprised that so many people were willing to help her small group reach its goals, and that fact makes her proud.

"When I started this, I didn't know it was going to get this far. I just wanted to accomplish simple goals," she said.

Beating her illness and eventually continuing her direct support for deployed troops has now become her main goal, she said.

"I hope to be back some time next year," she said. "Whether it's going to be my organization or whether I'm going to be helping Operation Homefront, I just want to take the time to rest so that I'll be in a healthy stage where I can truly help the troops. At this point, I don't have the strength."

Related Sites:

4 the Troops [http://www.4thetroops.net]

Operation Drop Box (Part of Operation Homefront) [http://www.operationhomefront.net/DropBox/]

America Supports You [http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/]


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NOTE: View the original version of this web page on DefenseLINK,
the official website of the U.S. Department of Defense, at
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2006/20060315_4501.html.