Thursday, 28 March 2013 15:07

A Voice for Veterans: Operation Adopt-A-Soldier

By Jackie Kingsland | News

Let’s try to recall what was happening in our lives ten years ago, back in 2003. What was the biggest challenge at that time? For two community members, they each had a son facing deployment overseas, heading off to war to serve our country. Cliff Seguin and Terri Perry are the parents of those service members. Cliff’s son deployed to Kuwait; Terri’s to Iraq.

With each parent facing their own array of emotions from tremendous pride to fear of the unknown, the journeys taken to support their children while overseas and cope here at home began differently. Their goals to make all military men and woman as comfortable as possible and provide a sense of home, while never forgetting the sacrifices made, were exactly the same. Eventually their paths lead down the same road and so began “Operation Adopt-a-Soldier.” (www.operationadoptasoldier.org)

Cliff Seguin founded the non-profit organization located in Wilton in 2003. During those first months of war in Iraq, he and other co-workers from his employer’s facility at the time sent care packages to one platoon where Cliff’s son, Steven, was a member. Cliff attended a “Support Our Troops” rally and fundraiser later that same year and partnered with Dominick Commisso, who also was sending care packages to his two sons serving in Iraq.

The following year in 2004, Cliff crossed paths with Terri Perry, the founder of Project Yellow Ribbon and military mom to Edward. Together with Helping Hands of New York, the two joined forces with Operation Adopt-a-Soldier (OAS) to serve the organization’s mission and provide support to every service member, their families, as well as raise awareness of the daily sacrifices the military and their loved ones make for the sake of our freedom. 

“There is nothing out of the realm that we won’t do to provide support to our troops,” claims Terri. 

Cliff adds, “We don’t want what they do for us to be forgotten.” And what a difference they do make in the lives of the troops, their family members, our community and other veteran organizations.

In addition to forwarding care packages, through the organization’s volunteers and Board members, OAS offers reinforcement to military family members through a Family Readiness Program and maintains a volunteer staff for home repairs such as plumbers, carpenters and electricians, as well as computer specialists, financial planners and support group referrals. The volunteers travel to airports to welcome home returning military members, give presentations to churches, schools, youth groups and host various events to raise awareness. Some of these activities include community dinners, dances, a harvest festival and a “Support our Troops” walk. They have recently received the honor of being asked to serve as administrators for placement of Memorial Day Flags at Saratoga National Cemetery.

You might be wondering what you can do to help. There are several options: write a soldier, host an event to benefit OAS, volunteer at events, make a contribution of your time, drop off supplies, or make a monetary donation by visiting their website. Volunteers are welcome for packing boxes for shipment to our military on Thursdays from noon – 2 p.m. or on Saturdays from 3-5 p.m. at their site located at 4281 Route 50, in Wilton. A supply list requested by service members is listed on their website and include items such a snacks, toiletries, calling cards and even “shower curtains requested by a female soldier for Operation: Bathroom Morale”, Terri explains. “If a soldier requests a specific item, we will send it to them.” 

“Whatever they need,” states Cliff. 

If you have a loved one serving overseas and want to add them to the organization’s list, reach out to Terri by telephone at (518) 232-4526 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can contact Cliff at (518) 587-8010, or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Businesses can donate to help our troops through the organization’s Annual Sponsorship Program for Operation Adopt-a-Soldier and Project Yellow Ribbon. This entails a three-tier membership (gold, silver and bronze) and each member level receives updated newsletters and meeting minutes, letters from a soldier (if received), a Support our Troops magnet and membership card. To reciprocate their appreciation, OAS offers to display signage, announce their business, include businesses’ name on the website and newsletter list; which details meeting minutes, organizational goals, soldier updates, fundraising events and a list of sponsors. One area’s business, Living Resources, has employees volunteer every week for the last eight years.

If you visit their location in Wilton to volunteer, drop of supplies or donations, you may notice their space is now at full capacity. 

“We are looking for a larger space, somewhere along Route 50 or in the Wilton area,” Cliff explains. “We have outgrown this space and need a larger facility to store supplies. A larger area can be utilized for our other services.” 

“Yes, I remember when I first began helping at OAS, we had a small trailer,” says Terri. “A large space will help us to host events at the site, offer counseling and family readiness group meetings. If a returning soldier comes home with no place to go, we can provide a bed for them.”

With the assistance of Cliff Gerber, a member of the OAS Board of Directors, 40-plus volunteers, including a military mentor for Family Readiness Groups (FRG), Operation Adopt-a-Soldier has supported our troops now for a decade. The organization recently celebrated 10 years in operation and will continue to stay the course and support service members and their loved ones even as the wars wind down overseas and more military men and women return home. 

“As long as there are soldiers who are deployed, we will send care packages, a sense of home, letters, and never let them be forgotten”, says Cliff, as Terri nods fervently in agreement.

The organization’s website (www.operationadoptasoldier.org) includes soldiers’ heartfelt letters, a supply list for the troops, fundraising events, OAS news, and useful links including: the military branches, Disabled American Veterans, Make the Connection (PTSD), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Association of Disabled Veterans to name a few, as well as several area drop off sites: Ballston Community Library in Burnt Hills; Rutland Marble Granite in Greenwich; Saratoga County Clerk’s Office in Ballston Spa and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Saratoga Springs.

If you were a 96-year-old WWII veteran named Leslie E. Lane, what would you do to support military men and women? As it turns out, Mr. Lane paints Christmas ornaments and delivers them to Operation Adopt-a-Soldier with the help of his daughter, Anita. Each and every ornament has a special and heartfelt message attached from Mr. Lane. 

Reach out to OAS –volunteer, host an event, make a donation to help them meet their goals and offer more support to our military, write a soldier a letter, drop off supplies or contribute your time. Make a sacrifice just like our service members and their loved ones do.

As always, thank you to our veterans for their service. See you back here next month at A Voice for Veterans.

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