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Showing our Gratitude

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Press Officer

The season of giving had an extra special meaning this year when SEPTA teamed up with the Philadelphia Sports Congress to collect items for care packages to be sent to U.S. troops stationed around the world via Operation Gratitude.

Members of the armed forces, joined by volunteers at AT&T Station and SEPTA Headquarters and other Center City locations, collected toiletries, socks, scarves, gloves, CDs, gift cards and letters of appreciation for servicemen and women. In all approximately four pallets of supplies were donated for the care packages.

"The gifts are very much appreciated," said Lt. Vaughn Cooper, who collected items at AT&T Station on the Broad Street Line. "Even in this time of email, when there is a letter or package from back home, the feeling is so great," added Lt. Commander Sal Torres, who was also at the station.

"The holidays are a time to be with family, but for many members of our armed forces, the season will be spent thousands of miles from home," said General Manager Joseph Casey. "We were pleased to be able to join with the Sports Congress in showing our appreciation for our service men and women by sending small gifts and words of thanks overseas."

In the past, the Sports Congress collected supplies from fans heading to the Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field. Because this year's game was held in Landover, Md., Operation Gratitude Day was a citywide event. Those who donated supplies or signed cards were given the opportunity to win tickets to next year's match-up, when it returns to Philadelphia.

Participation in activities like Operation Gratitude is typical of SEPTA. From donating thousands of toys to local children in need during the annual holiday "Yule Toy" drive to helping beautify neighborhoods for Mayor Nutter's spring clean-up and joining with customers to collect tons of food for Philabundance during the summer food drive, community involvement is part of the culture at the Authority.

"We are a service organization, with an emphasis on service, and provide our neighbors with more than just a means of transportation," said Casey. "This is our home and it is our responsibility to give back for the greater good."

(From left): Lt. Vaughn Cooper, Lt. Commander Sal Torres and Lt. Joe Bossi collected supplies at AT&T Station

Passengers signed cards for the troops before heading to work on the Broad Street Line.

SEPTA Ambassadors Maxine Dobbins and Dan Amspacher greet customers making donations at AT&T Station.

(From left): Volunteer Lindsey Iden, Staff Sgt. Jerrel M. Jones and Sgt. Dwayne D. Clarke collected donations at SEPTA's Center City Headquarters.