NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — More than 100 volunteer Airmen gathered here to participate in Operation Warm Heart, where they moved, packaged and delivered 700 Thanksgiving dinners for military members and their families Nov. 13.
The Tug Boat society, an organization founded by Cathy and Dwight Mahan, collected donations from corporations, organizations and individuals to help provide a full Thanksgiving dinner, including the turkey, to Nellis and Creech families.
“This year the magic number was 700, and we have filled 700 boxes with full Thanksgiving meals and we’re giving them out to the troops,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Gouveia, U.S. Air Force Weapons School first sergeant.
This is the 10th year the Tug Boat society has participated in Operation Warm Heart.
“It was a fluke 10 years ago,” said Cathy Mahan, cofounder of the Tug Boat Society. “We found out accidentally that the first sergeants did this and we decided to help out. We’ve been helping out ever since and every year it’s grown for us as it has for the Air Force.”
This is the second year the society has been able to fully fund the entire operation.
“It’s difficult to get a full meal, turkeys as well as the accompanying side dishes for 700 families, but that’s what we did,” she said.
Despite aiding Operation Warm Heart for a decade the Mahans said it’s still heartwarming.
“It’s always fun,” Mahan said. “ It’s great to see the way the Air Force takes care of their own and it just makes us proud that we have Nellis in our city.”
The heartwarming experience isn’t limited to the Mahan’s either.
“It’s awesome,” Gouveia said. “The best part of my job is giving back to the people. Today started off with a little bit of chaos, but it’s moving into a positive direction in getting the job done and getting these baskets filled.”