In March of 2003 a war broke out in Iraq. The United States already was at war in Afghanistan. Carol Dippon realized that there were a lot of young men and women from Dwight who were serving in those dangerous places. She believed that they deserved to know that Dwight had not forgotten them, and they were grateful for their service. And that’s how Operation SOS began on April 1, 2003. Marcia Drach and Annette Riegel quickly offered their support as both of their sons were deployed. Who knew that 20 years later we would all three still be running Operation SOS? All of our sons are out of the military, but we believe in supporting each and every one of those with a connection to Dwight that choose to serve.

So many things have changed in 20 years. Some of the troops on our list weren’t even born when we began. Businesses in Dwight have closed, some even opened and closed during this time. The streets in the downtown area were improved and new lighting put up. The Paper-strong supporters of SOS from the start-ceased publication of printed newspapers. Marriages, births, and sadly some breakups. But the one thing that hasn’t changed over the 20 years is that the people of Dwight have continued to be supportive of Operation SOS. In all this time, we have had very few fundraisers, but the donations keep coming because Dwight cares about its military service members.

SUPPORT- In December 2005, Brian Trainor had just had a new baby and was going to move into the house they had been remodeling. The day after Christmas, the house caught on fire. Operation SOS quickly pulled together a benefit for January 28 and raised over $40,000 that day. Sadly, only 4 years into our existence, we learned what our support really means to a family and to the community when LCPL Raymond J Holzhauer lost his life in Iraq. Operation SOS was there for his family, and together with the rest of Dwight, we helped each other to grieve. Community projects helped families come together and support one another through military careers and all of the changes that happen when you are a part of a military family. We’ve helped buy plane tickets to bring troops home during difficult times. We even paid a family’s water bill when the husband was deployed.

To commemorate our 20th anniversary, we will be giving away free hotdogs/chips/water/treats on April 1st at the VFW from 11-2. Stop by and look at our scrapbook. See some of the items we’ve shipped over the years. We will have some door prizes to give away. To honor the 20th, we had these awesome shirts made with the name of just about everyone we could think of that has ever received an SOS package. We will have a special gift for anyone who ever received a package from us.