Operation Gratitude and CSX Deliver 5,000 Battalion Buddies to Military Children Across the Country

Los Angeles, CA, April 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Throughout the Month of the Military Child this April, national nonprofit Operation Gratitude and CSX will honor and recognize the resiliency of military children by delivering 5,000 “Battalion Buddies,” hand-stuffed teddy bears dressed in military uniform, to children of deployed or soon-to-deploy military parents. These Battalion Buddies provide a sentimental connection and can offer emotional comfort to military kids who make a different, but equally difficult sacrifice, while their parents are stationed away from home. The COVID-19 pandemic has extended deployments, creating additional stress and uncertainty for military families, especially those in the National Guard who have been mobilized rapidly and frequently to aid in testing and vaccination efforts.

“We are three months into the deployment. Ashlynn loves her bear so much! She takes it to daycare every day and sleeps with it every night. She said it reminds her of Daddy. I wanted to thank you again for all you do. You have made a difference in my daughter’s life,” stated N., mother of Battalion Buddy recipient & spouse of a deployed soldier.

Local deliveries are being planned throughout April and May, as part of Operation Gratitude’s ongoing commitment to support not only the military, but their families as well. CSX and Operation Gratitude’s partnership is part of Pride in Service, CSX’s company-wide community investment initiative, which directly supports military, veterans, and first responders as well as their children and spouses.

“Each one of our Battalion Buddies is hand stuffed by an Operation Gratitude volunteer – a grateful American who opted to go a step beyond saying ‘thank you’ to service members and their families and take tangible action to show their support and appreciation. These volunteers may have experienced the challenges of being part of a military family firsthand, or maybe they haven’t. Either way, their time and effort send a clear message to Battalion Buddy recipients that they are supported by their community and their sacrifices will not be forgotten,” said Kevin Schmiegel, CEO, Operation Gratitude.

“At CSX, we remain committed to serving those who serve. It is simply part of our identity, as 1 in 5 CSX employees has served in the military,” said Bryan Tucker, vice president of corporate communications at CSX. “In partnership with Operation Gratitude we hope to deliver smiles to more military children, particularly when their parent is deployed. Battalion Buddies are meant to alleviate some of that stress.”

Interviews with Operation Gratitude and CSX leadership available upon request.

POC: Amber Myszka, Operation Gratitude PR & Media Manager, amyszka@operationgratitude.com or 715-927-7722

About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude’s mission is to forge strong bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide. In March of 2003, Operation Gratitude sent its first four care packages to deployed service members in Iraq. Since then, the organization has given millions of Americans the opportunity to express appreciation through hands-on volunteerism while lifting the spirits of more than 1.8 million deployed troops and another 1.3 million recruit graduates, veterans, military families, first responders, and healthcare heroes. Corporate partners and grateful citizens from across the country donate more than 15 million “Wish List” and handmade items each year to fill the signature Operation Gratitude Care Packages. Through donation drives, letter-writing campaigns, craft projects, service projects, and other activities, volunteers are the heart and soul of the organization. For more information visit OperationGratitude.com, or follow us on Twitter at @OpGratitude.

About CSX

CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural and consumer products. For nearly 200 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links more than 230 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corp. and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com.


5,000 Military children will receive a Battalion Buddy from Operation Gratitude and CSX in celebration of the Month of the Military Child. Through the Battalion Buddy program, Operation Gratitude has provided comfort to more than 45,000 military children facing extended separations.