Operation Hometown Gratitude

Operation Hometown Gratitude (OHG) is a District-wide effort started by students of the public high schools in Rochester, Minnesota, to support local troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Check out our new blog (on the left) to stay updated on our stories and events.

This operation was formed to thank our troops for their dedication. OHG will send care packages with necessary supplies and everyday home items to troops and will provide support for families of the troops. Since August of 2005, we have sent over 15,000 care packages.

Our local VFW post 1215 has been generous to the cause, granting the operation $500 to begin the process of collecting and sending supplies, and paying for the postage of many of the packages we have sent since our inception. 

We are not a political group and believe that political agendas are irrelevant to what we do. We welcome and count among our members (proudly) Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and others. We keep the politics out of it

Our country would not be where it is without the military. In times of crisis that involves our military to long term commitments, such as the Iraq war, there are at least 3 needs that are addressed by a group such as OHG: the needs of lonely and homesick soldiers, the needs of military families, and the needs of a community to connect with them in some way.

Veterans are under-appreciated for what they do and/or what they have done for our country. The average citizen has no connection to and no concept of the hardships encountered by deployed combat troops and their families. 

Students should handle as much of the leadership and responsibility of the organization as they are willing and able to for the purposes of personal growth.

A public school and its students will derive many benefits from an organization such as OHG. The school(s) become a focal point for individuals, organizations, corporations, churches, youth groups, and Boy and Girl Scouts to name a few, who come together for a common purpose.

Kids (teens) are all basically good people and are the future of our country. If we as adults set a good example, they will follow it. 

The students and staff of the Rochester Public Schools, as well as community members have provided all the energy, enthusiasm, and determination. 

Please give to Operation Hometown Gratitude!  
We’d love to hear from you and so would our troops. 


Gary Komaniecki

I try to instill in my students at least a small sense of history, especially as it relates to the Korean and Viet Nam War veterans and their treatment by our country when they returned home. Our legacy is to do our best to make sure this does not happen again. It is OK for students to disagree with the current president, our leadership, or our foreign policy. In fact, soldiers have and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to give us the right to express our opinions. We should never, however, associate opinions or politics with the combat soldier and\or withhold support of them because of our personal beliefs. 

I have seen a great deal of personal growth in my students that are involved with Operation Hometown Gratitude. Several have become community leaders in their own right, and all of them have become more confident and secure young adults. They have learned first hand the cost of freedom and how truly fortunate they are. They may not comprehend yet that the actions they take today and the relationships they are forming will last a lifetime; this will sink in over time. They will truly be better citizens for this effort. They can be proud of their accomplishments, and their community can be proud of them. GJK 

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