Operation Unite/Celebrate Our Troops Day will take place Sept. 16 at John J. Burns Park in Massapequa. Organized by Hicksville resident Donna Mutch, the event is aimed at recognizing and showing appreciation for the men and women who have answered the call of duty and serving the country in the armed forces while raising money to purchase items for the troops that will make life a little easier and bring them closer to home.
"We will come together to unite and celebrate our men and women in uniform, regardless of political affiliation and personal opinions of the war," said Mutch. "Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have done and are continuing to do a great job. We need to show our appreciation for all the sacrifices they have made and the sacrifices they continue to make on a daily basis."
Mutch's son, 22-year-old Cpl. Scott Mutch, graduated from Kellenberg Memorial High School in 2002 and served four years of active duty in Okinawa, Iraq and Camp Pendelton. He was honorably discharged on Aug. 19 and now has four years of inactive duty to serve.
According to Mutch, Operation Unite/Celebrate Our Troops Day is important because it serves as a way to recognize the men and women who volunteered to serve and protect our country. "They don't ask the guy next to them watching their back which political party they come from. They don't ask what their religion is. They just watch each other's back. When their boss (President Bush) says it's time to go do their job, they go do it. This is their job! They signed up for it," Mutch said.
She continued, "People have to realize that you can be against the war but you still need to support the troops. If these men/women stop signing up we will have to implement the draft again. Without the men/women in uniform we have nothing."
Mutch said the idea to hold Operation Unite/Celebrate Our Troops Day came in early 2006, at a time when she felt people were starting to forget about the troops still fighting over in Iraq/Afghanistan.
The goal, she said, is to "show the troops that here on Long Island we haven't forgotten about them and we are supporting them. The negative comments get back to the troops over in Iraq/Afghanistan. These men/women need to know that 'We Stand together United as One' to support them."
While she has received support from New York State Assemblyman Rob Walker, who has issued two press releases informing people of the event, Mutch said Operate Unite/Celebrate Our Troops Day is basically the work of her and husband, Ron. About a month ago, said Mutch, a local resident named Karen saw a sign promoting this Saturday's event and has been helping out ever since. "Karen ... she has been sending packages to the troops for some time now and has offered to get involved," said Mutch.
Operation Unite/Celebrate Our Troops Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 16 at John J. Burns Park, located on Merrick Road, in Massapequa from 1 to 6 p.m. Members of the United States Marines, Army and Coast Guard will be on hand as will the Staten Island chapter of the Rolling Thunder, a speaker from the Department of Defense and the Color Guard by Pershing Rifles Company. The event will also feature a DJ, obstacle course, softball games, giant slide, rock wall, football toss and laser shoot as well as a performance by the Scottish Pipe Band, and raffles for signed baseball memorabilia, gift certificates and a 50/50. Joanne Insinga of Fine Calligraphy will be on hand with personalized bookmarks. In addition, refreshments will be available.
Monetary donations may be made at the event or by sending a check, payable to Operation Inc. to Donna Mutch, 235 Blueberry Lane, Hicksville, NY 11801. For more information, visit www.opunite.org or call Donna Mutch at 932-6002 for more information. You can also email email@example.com.