When Team Trophy Central read about Operation Gratitude, an organization dedicated to sending handwritten letters and personally addressed care packages to military members, first responders and their families, our hearts were immediately warmed. When we clicked on over to their website and saw a singular word listed under their company’s goal — smiles — we knew we were kindred spirits.
Trophy Central’s mission has always been, above all, to deliver smiles. When we engrave our trophies with special words highlighting individual accomplishments, we can’t help but smile ourselves because we always envision the smile we hope our trophies will elicit. The smile from the dad who receives his “Best Dad” trophy or the smile from the elementary school student awarded a surprise certificate for her advanced reading skills.
Fifteen Years of G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E
Then there are the smiles we deliver when we send out our monthly Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” award, designed specifically to reward everyday acts of kindness. This month’s Random Acts of Trophy-ness winner is Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude. We are awarding her our Words for Warriors Award for spreading love one letter at a time.
Operation Gratitude began in Carolyn’s living room in 2003, but has transformed into a bustling operation of collection drives, letter writing campaigns and care package assembly events resulting in over two million care packages assembled and shipped.
Eight Million Trophy-Worthy S-M-I-L-E-S
What Team Trophy Central was particularly moved by is the fact that the handwritten letters are the most popular item sent to Americans who serve our nation. We have always believed there is something magical about receiving a handwritten letter in the mail, and that handwritten letters are too few and far between. The New York Times recently wrote a love letter to the handwritten note, highlighting how receiving a hand-addressed letter is scientifically proven to elicit the feeling of being loved. Operation Gratitude has sent eight million handwritten letters, which means Operation Gratitude is responsible for eight million people feeling loved. We think that’s remarkable — and ever-so trophy-worthy.
One Unabashed Trophy-Inspiring P-A-T-R-I-O-T
Sue Heck, the fictional character from ABC’s The Middle — and the inspiration behind our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign to reward everyday acts of kindness — would most certainly approve of this month’s winner. On more than one occasion, Sue has professed her love for America — “I just love America so much” — and Team Trophy Central believes Sue would be doing her quintessentially Sue happy dance to hear that Operation Gratitude is this month’s winner.
For those new to our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” campaign (welcome to Trophy Central!!) here is what you need to know: We fell in love with Sue Heck because she never gives up and refuses to let the outside world dictate what she is or isn’t able to accomplish. If Sue Heck isn’t accepted into a club, she starts her own club.
Sue Heck is not the type of person normally recognized in traditional trophy-giving spheres. She’s not the most athletic or the most talented. But she makes other people feel good. She inspires others to be themselves because she is always completely and unabashedly herself, never dimming her sparkle in order to fit in or seek the approval of others. Team Trophy Central wanted to start a campaign to reward everyday heroes who inspire. We were used to making trophies for star sports athletes and gifted singers. And we’ve always loved doing it. But we wanted to expand the definition of “trophy-worthy” to include people who are changing the world by being themselves, a la Sue Heck. Enter our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue”award!
Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude and all its kindhearted volunteers epitomize the “Show Us Your Sue” spirit, and we are honored to celebrate them with our Random Acts of Trophy-ness trophy and in this blog!
Three Ways to Show Heartfelt A-P-P-R-E-C-I–A-T-I-O-N
Team Trophy Central is grateful for Operation Gratitude and for everyone who embodies Operation Gratitude’s ethos. It’s important to be grateful, important to let others know how much they change our lives for the better. So we leave you with this: Who in your life are you grateful for? We ask that you please let these people know. Send them handwritten thank you notes, give them a call instead of shooting off a text, give them a hug. It’s as important to feel loved as it is to make others feel loved.
Two Ways to Support Trophy Central’s #ShowUsYourSue C-A-M-P-A-I-G-N
Pssst! Looking for another way to express gratitude for those who enrich your life and make it happier? Why not have us send them a personally engraved trophy? Every month, we send out a Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” trophy to someone who makes the world a kinder, more loving place. You can nominate someone to win our Random Acts of Trophy-ness trophy in the comments section below or by tagging us on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #ShowUsYourSue. Tell us why this person makes you smile, and we just might send them one of our shiny, sparkly trophies!