In cooperation with Operation Gratitude, Victory sent one set of keys to Afghanistan as part of the 600,000th care package delivered overseas by General James Amos, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corp on behalf of the California-based charity.
“Victory is always looking for meaningful ways to thank those serving in the military and our veterans,” says Steve Menneto, Victory Motorcycles general manager. “The opportunity to partner with Operation Gratitude and donate one of our motorcycles to the organization’s 600,000th care package means a lot to our company. We encourage everyone to continue finding ways to thank our troops for all they sacrifice in service to our country.”
The keys were sent to the Sangrin District of Afghanistan’s Helmand Provinde to an unnamed Lance Corporal with the 3rd battalion, 5th Marines, also known as the “Dark Horse Battalion”. The Lance Corporal received the care package on Christmas Day including the keys, letters of appreciation, hygiene products, DVDs and other items donated for Operation Gratitude. The Lance Corporal will be identified when he receive his 2011 Victory Vegas 8-Ball after the Dark Horse Battalion returns to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego County in late 2011.
“I received a phone call from a very happy young Marine on Christmas Day,” says Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude “He said: ‘Your package means the world to me. I appreciate everybody who put something in that care package and everybody back home. And I thank you for your love and support, as do all the other Marines who received packages from y'all. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.’”
The second set of Victory Vegas 8-Ball keys were sent to Jonathan Hartt, TI/E-6 of the U.S. Navy. Hartt was selected to receive the 8-Ball as part of Victory’s Hometown Heroes initiative which asked friends and family of members of the military to submit videos explaining why their loved one was a hero. A video submitted by Hartt’s wife and three children was selected by a public vote.
“Across the globe, there are men and women who have served or are serving in our military that are Hometown Heroes,” said Menneto. “Honoring these people, not just for their service to our country, but also for what they do to make the lives of those around them better each day, provided the motivation to launch an initiative like Victory’s Hometown Heroes. We’re proud of all of our troops, and couldn’t be happier to give away a bike as a sign of our appreciation.”
Both 8-Balls feature a special military badge as a sign of honor and gratitude to the two servicemen.