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SUMMER 2017 Packing Date
Saturday, July 15, 2017

Good items to collect:
individual packs of baby wipes, boxes of individual packs of Crystal Light, tuna in foil packs, instant hot chocolate mix/coffee/tea, containers of coffee cream and sugar, instant oatmeal/grits, snack crackers, tube socks (must be new in package), athlete's foot medication (NO aerosol), shaving gel (in a tube - NO aerosol), Blistex/Chapstick, artwork made by children (patriotic, red/white/blue, Fourth of July themed), Pringles Potato Chips, disposable razors, granola bars, BEEF jerky (NO pork), notes/letters of appreciation and encouragement.
 
 
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Contact Us
Email:  info@osot-shreveport.org
Phone: 318-219-7488
 
The History of Operation Support Our Troops, Inc.
Operation Support Our Troops (hereafter known as OSOT), Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting our troops serving in harms’ way. Specifically, OSOT, Inc. is an organization existing to support our deployed service members in a positive manner–to send goods and letters to boost their morale and supplement their basic needs with a “touch, taste and smell from home”…pure and simple. We are NOT an organization that questions military policy–We are here to SUPPORT our troops in every branch of service…any way we can.
~ ~
OSOT, Inc. was founded and continues to be guided by the Mary Kay Salomone, our President, CEO and “Mother Superior” – our conscience. To better understand how OSOT, Inc. came into being, a bit of history of our founder is appropriate.
 
Mary Kay Gasperini Salomone has lived a lifetime of service to our nation – through her volunteer work and support for our troops. While not herself a USMA (at West Point) graduate, Mary Kay’s love for the institution and her ties to it are deep and strong. Mary Kay’s father, Silvio Gasperini, graduated USMA (Class of 1940) and served in our nation’s armed forces until his retirement in 1966. Mary Kay’s husband graduated USMA (Class of 1965), and together John and Mary Kay Salomone raised four children while John served our nation–retiring in 1994 after 29 years of service. One of Mary Kay’s sons, Stephen, is also a USMA graduate (Class of 2000) and her oldest son, John, recently completed a three-year assignment as a Professor in the English Department at USMA. Mary Kay’s daughter, Susie is also married to a USMA graduate (Class of 1991). Additionally, one of her brothers’, Richard, is also a USMA graduate (Class of 1970) who retired in 1990.
 
Sending “boodle” (snacks/treats) and support packages to our soldiers comes naturally to Mary Kay. She had honed these skills as a very young child—continuing that practice as a young bride while husband, John served in Vietnam; while son, Stephen, was at West Point and thereafter when deployed in Kuwait; and son, John, was deployed in Guantanamo Bay, Somalia, and Korea. Her caring nature and generosity are well known to many of Stephen’s classmates and fellow West Pointers, and thus it came as no surprise when two young 2001 graduates approached Mary Kay, asking for help getting needed supplies to their troops in those early days of deployment to Afghanistan and Guantanamo.
 
Recognizing that the needs far outstripped her personal abilities and having the foresight to recognize that the needs would be ever increasing, Mary Kay contacted the appropriate individuals at the Pentagon and received permission to officially launch “Operation Support Our Troops, Inc.”.
 
Ever mindful of the need for security and need to protect our troops privacy (even before the latest Privacy Act laws), Mary Kay decided that in order to be successful OSOT, Inc. had to be a very closely held organization, and further decided that membership would be limited – basically by invitation only. Her target membership? Parents of current West Point cadets and recent West Point graduates…parents whom she felt that she could rely upon to understand the absolute need for security and parents who would abide by the very simple, but non-negotiable rules under which the Pentagon approved the creation of OSOT, Inc.
 
Since it’s inception in February of 2002, OSOT, Inc. has grown exponentially ~ but so too has the need. While the vast majority of our members remain the parents of West Point cadets and recent grads, our ranks also include older USMA grads and the parents of some non-West Point affiliated soldiers who are deployed in harms’ way.
 
OSOT, Inc.’s target audience: any and all troops, be they Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine…Active duty National Guard and Activated Reservists…officer and enlisted alike.  Many of the names on our support list are the names of young West Point graduates, who in turn write, asking that their soldiers be added to the list. The Chaplain’s Corp has also been instrumental in helping us, not only by supplying names of those soldiers with whom they come in contact, but also by accepting our donations and acting as a clearing house so that ALL soldiers can benefit from OSOT, Inc.
 
It is humbling to be a part of OSOT, Inc. ~ the messages received from grateful troops keeps us ever mindful of their needs, and our need to support them ~ to ensure that they know that they are not forgotten.
 
The rules of OSOT, Inc. are simple, but the very continuation of OSOT, Inc. depends on each member’s adherence to these rules:

1) Because our primary concern is the security of our troops, we NEVER share names or addresses with anyone.
2) We never give out information about troops to anyone.
3) All rules for packing boxes will continue as stated:
* No home-baked goods unless you are sending to your own son or daughter
* All food items MUST be in their unopened original packages
* All boxes will be packed and inspected by military family members
* All postal and custom regulations will be followed.
 
The reputation of OSOT, Inc. amongst our soldiers is excellent. They recognize the OSOT, Inc. labels adorning our members’ boxes and know that the goodies contained therein will be wonderful and are intended to be shared with all.
 
OSOT, Inc. members have worked off a “wish list” that has been comprised of the wishes and needs of our soldiers. We send different items during the different seasons. We focus on the geographic area to which the box is sent, the weather and the degree of “creature comforts” that the troop might have. We also have the capability to handle special requests that may come in from a particular unit, or from one of the Chaplains. We never interpose our wishes upon the troops ~ our purpose is to serve them with what they need, when they need it. We have also worked closely with the Chaplains at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, and have provided much needed civilian clothing and hygiene products for our wounded soldiers receiving medical treatment.
 
Mary Kay remains steadfast that we must never lose sight of our mission, nor let anything detract us from that mission. We will, in short, “be here, as long as they are there” which continues to be the OSOT, Inc. motto.