Operation Gratitude Donates 225 First Responder Care Pouches to Pasadena Firefighters

First responders from the Pasadena Fire Department receive \'Care Pouches from Operation Gratitude. Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington and his firefighters receive a care pouche Operation Gratitude.First responders from the Pasadena Fire Department receive \'Care Pouches from Operation Gratitude. John and Carole Kuzma from Operation Care Gratitude and with \First responders from the Pasadena Fire Department receive \'Care Pouches from Operation Gratitude. John and Carole Kuzma from Operation Care Gratitude receive thanks from firefighters from the Pasadena Fire Department.Carole Kuzma from Operation Care Gratitude receives hugs from firefighters from the Pasadena Fire Department.Carole Kuzma from Operation Care Gratitude receives a hug from Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington.First responders from the Pasadena Fire Department receive \'Care Pouches from Operation Gratitude. First responders from the Pasadena Fire Department receive \'Care Pouches from Operation Gratitude.

Photography by JAMES CARBONE

5:21 am | August 6, 2018


Pasadena Fire Department firefighters were the grateful recipients last week of 225 First Responder care pouches from Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization based in Chatsworth.

Carole and John Kuzman, representing Operation Gratitude, presented the pouches to Pasadena’s firefighters during an event Wednesday afternoon at Fire Station 34, located at 1360 E. Del Mar Blvd.

Each of the custom-designed pouches contains an assortment of items such as energy shots, protein bars, lip balm, pens and pencils, anti-bacterial gel, and a quick-deploy paracord “Survival” Bracelet. These items are intended to provide relief and convenience while First Responders are in the field. When empty, the pouch can easily be re-used for a variety of purposes.

The group also sends cuddly bears in care packages to the children of deployed military personnel.

“We send care packages to service members and families and we’ve just completed not long ago the two millionth care package,” Carole Kuzma said.

Clutching a special stuffed Teddy Bear, Kuzma explained the loveable bears are called “Battalion Buddies” and “are given to children of deployed troops, and on the back it says, ‘Hi, Brave Young Warrior. I am your Battalion Buddy. I am here to cuddle or play with you while Mommy or Daddy is away. My friends at operation gratitude will send a little something to Mommy or Daddy, too.’ So these are for the children to hold and cuddle while one of their parents is away.”

Each of the custom-designed pouches contains an assortment of items such as energy shots, protein bars, lip balm, pens and pencils, anti-bacterial gel, and a quick-deploy paracord “Survival” Bracelet. These items are intended to provide relief and convenience while First Responders are in the field. When empty, the pouch can easily be re-used for a variety of purposes.

At their Chatsworth facility, Operation Gratitude packs these pouches with donated items and, usually with letters of appreciation, gives them out to First Responders, U.S. troops, veterans, military families, and wounded heroes as well as their caregivers throughout the U.S. and overseas, to “show gratitude and unwavering support to the men and women in uniform who defend and protect Americans here at home every day.”

The nonprofit said it has been able to send over two million care packages to First Responders and military personnel, their families, and veterans.