In honor of the millions of Afghanistan War veterans and all the brave veterans who have served our country with honor, the 6th Annual Military Tribute Gala takes place this month, Feb. 24, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

“By sending one of our care packages, we are telling our enlisted soldiers, ‘We are in this together, no matter how far apart we may be,’” says Gala Chairwoman Rosemary Allison, Coldwell Banker realtor and proud “Medal of Honor” event sponsor with For The Troops, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that sends care packages to members of the U.S. Military serving abroad.

To date, For The Troops has sent over 185,000 “We Care” packages containing basic necessities, goodies and games to soldiers serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Kuwait, Africa and other deployed locations.

“Being a Medal of Honor sponsor of this gallant enterprise provides a sense that we are helping to bring some home comforts to those who are defending our nation,” says Rosemary, acknowledging the sacrifices made by millions of families serving abroad to protect our country.

“While here at home we fill our days engaging in personal activities and spending quality time with our families, few of us stop to realize that since the twin wars of Afghanistan and Iraq began in 2001, over 2.5 million people have served—a third of them have been deployed for up to five tours of duty. In the words of Paul Rieckhoff, the chief executive officer of the Iraq and Afghanistan Vets of America: ‘When I say 2.5 million people have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, jaws drop…’ I don’t think they appreciate how many people have served, and particularly the number who have had repeated deployments. You’ve had an unprecedented demand on a small population,” she adds.

Brightening up the lives of soldiers serving abroad, For The Troops’ “We Care” packages include useful items like socks, aspirin, pens and paper, toothpaste and food or snacks such as peanut butter, applesauce, trail mix and more. To donate items, see the Wish List in the sidebar.

To help cover the cost of shipping these “We Care” boxes, this year’s Gala event aims to raise $125,000, a six-month freight commitment.

The night of honoring Afghanistan War veterans and recognizing all veterans includes dinner, live entertainment and live and silent auctions. Event sponsors include Logix Federal Credit Union, Gold Coast Health Plan, Amgen, HSP Direct, Union Bank and Frazier Aviation.

For more information about the event or to sponsor a Veteran, visit ForTheTroops.org, or call Rosemary at 805.479.7653.