Operation Hand Warmer helps soldiers overseas

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News 12 at 11 o' clock/ September 11, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga.--It may seem like a small thing, but to troops overseas, a pack of handwarmers can be a pretty big deal.

"We had a commander of a group recently tell us that none of his pilots had frostbite since we've been supplying handwarmers for the past two years," Burt Sappenfield told us. He started Operation Hand Warmer, an organization that collects hand warmers, a long with candy, toiletries, letters, and other reminders of home for soldiers overseas.

Christopher Tison knows firsthand how important those packages,especially the handwarmers, can be. Tison served 20 years in the Army, and used hand warmers more than a few times.

He says, "Your gloves can't keep you warm, your fingertips and toes get so cold. I would get those hand warmers, and stuff my body with them just to stay warm."

He's a contractor overseas now, but when he's home in Augusta, he speaks to groups about Operation Hand Warmer. He knows how important it is for soldiers to know someone back home took the time to care. He says, " I've seen guys get cards from a Girl Scout troop and just lose it."

Which is why, for years now, Operation Hand Warmer has been sending care packages, filled with candy, handwarmers, and other goodies, to soldiers overseas.

Sappenfield says, "We can show our military that we really do care for them."

And back home, on a day where everyone is remembering the tragedy that unfolded on September 11th, 12 years ago, the group is kicking off their annual care package collection. They're also reminding everyone that even now, troops are still planted around the globe, keeping a close eye on terrorists who threaten our way of life.

Tison says, "They're out there doing their job to ensure that we're safe and sound and make sure it's not going to happen again."

Sappenfield said," What happened on 9/11 was a tragedy. Giving to the troops is a way for the American people to pay back and say we're going to help you, we're going to support you out there."

Sappenfield was recently told by a military commander that Operation Handwarmer, a group with humble beginnings right here in Augusta, has now grown to be the biggest contributors to our troops anywhere in the country.

For more information on how you can help donate---ttp://www.operationhandwarmer.com