Charity to donate $20,000 to families

DULUTH -- Operation One Voice, a program designed to help the children of wounded and fallen special operations troops, is in the Christmas spirit.

In its latest efforts to provide financial assistance to the families of those who sacrificed so much, the nonprofit group will donate $20,000 to more than 200 special operations families.

"Some of these families have wounded loved ones, some may have had spouses killed in action or on deployment now," said Duluth police Lt. Bill Stevens, OOV founder. "All have financial needs."

Smith said the gifts, part of Operation Saint Nick II, will be in the form of Wal-Mart gift cards intended to ease the financial burden of Christmas shopping.

Another program is in the works, Stevens said, to help provide medical support for several "fragile" children of special operations parents. Details on this program are vague at the time, but Stevenson said OOV is currently providing funding for the project, which is scheduled to begin in January.

Recently, the program shipped six Trek road bikes -- used in OOV's 2009 Honor Ride and Special Operations Forces Run -- to six wounded special operations service members to help in their rehabilitation.

In all, Stevens projects the program will donate more than $45,000 this Christmas season, and thanked public safety agencies in Georgia and Florida, and businesses nationwide, for its support.

"What we have accomplished and continue to accomplish can only be done by standing united as one people supporting those at the tip of the spear," Stevens said. "My Christmas wish is for all our troops to have a safe, peaceful and joyful Christmas."