Police, Kiwanis Club help needy families

DULUTH - Generous and compassionate is a good description of the recent actions undertaken by Duluth's police department and its chapter of the Kiwanis Club. That's because together the two groups have given much-needed financial support this holiday season to former and current members of the military and their families.

For the Kiwanis Club, it recently became the newest benefactor of the Sentinels of Freedom-Gwinnett, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping three severely wounded veterans adjust to civilian life in Gwinnett County. To help these veterans keep their lives and families together, the Kiwanis Club donated $250 to the group at its Dec. 17 meeting.

For the police department, thanks to a generous $17,700 donation made by an anonymous Duluth family, the group is participating in Operation One Voice's Operation Saint Nick - a program whose specific mission is to provide Christmas for families of special operations forces that are in need. As part of the efforts this holiday season, the group recently sent gift cards to 25 Navy families and 115 Army families.

According to Lt. Bill Stevens, the Saint Nick program is even managed very much like a military or police special operations mission with planning and logistics working together for a "mission accomplished" outcome.

"The gift cards are sent to a point of contact with each unit command, most often a senior non-commissioned officer who in turn hand-delivers the cards to the families," Stevens said. "And we could not play Saint Nick without the support of some very special families. They wish to stay in the background, but are truly, truly special people."

For more information on how to get involved with helping special operations force member's families, call Lt. Bill Stevens at 770-329-8514. For more information on the Sentinels of Freedom-Gwinnett, call Jess Vics at 770-623-3323 or e-mail vixgang@yahoo.com.