The Jack Daniel Distillery launched its “Operation Ride Home” campaign to assist soldiers and their families in traveling home for the holidays. The distillery joined forces with the Armed Services YMCA of Fort Campbell to work with military officials at the installation to identify soldiers and families with particular needs and financial assistance for travel from the base to their homes throughout the United States this holiday season.
In honor of the decorated 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Jack Daniel’s donated $101,000 to begin the campaign and established the website www.jdoperationridehome.com to invite friends to contribute what they can to assist in the effort. The Armed Services YMCA will purchase plane tickets and provide pre-paid debit cards for gas, lodging and food for soldiers and families to travel home. The 101st Airborne Division has members serving from across the United States and has been on multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“There are so many enlisted soldiers with families who would love to go to their homes for the holidays, but just don’t have the means to do it,” said Jeff Arnett, Jack Daniel’s master distiller, in a statement. “These heroes have been serving our country on multiple deployments overseas and we just want to do what we can to help reunite them with their families during this special season. After all, it’s not what is under the Christmas tree, but who is around it.”
Shirley West, Armed Services YMCA executive director, said the Operation Ride Home campaign could potentially help hundreds of soldiers and their families travel to their respective homes from Christmas through the New Year.
“The military does an outstanding job getting our soldiers back to base from deployments, but unfortunately so many of them just don’t have the money to leave the base — whether that’s money for a plane ticket if they live far away from the base or even gas money if they’re closer to Fort Campbell. This campaign will be a huge help in reuniting these families,” West said in a statement.