By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gratitude takes many forms. When it’s 3,000 care packages for U.S. troops, it also takes many hands. In this case, hundreds of BGE HOME employees are volunteering for Operation Gratitude.

“When bullets are flying, we need to let our men and women in uniform who are protecting our freedom know that there are people back home who care,” the organization’s CEO Kevin Schmiegel said.

The volunteers start the operation by signing thank you cards. Next, come items such as shaving cream, tooth brushes and other toiletries. Volunteers in other locations do the same thing with food and snacks, and eventually it will all be brought together and go into individual boxes. There are also handmade items.

“We had hundreds of volunteers from across the country knit 50,000 scarves and 18,000 hats in 2017,” Schmiegel said.

Among BGE HOME’s volunteers are military veterans, who know what it’s like on the receiving end of a gift from strangers.

“When you’re overseas, when you’re in a combat situation, it’s nice to know that people back home think about you, haven’t forgotten about you,” Vietnam vet Bruce Kremer said.

Making everyday things pretty special.

Since its founding in 2003, Operation Gratitude has delivered 2 million care packages to troops.

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