Care Package Event Raises Morale, Memories for Lockheed Martin Employees

Operation USO Care Package More than 200 Moorestown employees volunteered their time to pack 5,020 USO care packages for troops serving overseas.

Though short-lived, the Gulf War sent nearly 700,000 American troops overseas. For Navy sailors stationed in the Persian Gulf, deployments lasted up to six months with no comforts of home, no holidays with family and no easy way to keep in touch.

“I spent more Christmas holidays away from family than I did with family during the six years I was deployed,” said Phil Livecchi, a Gulf War veteran who now works at Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, N.J. “When we were on those long deployments, we appreciated anything that was a distraction from the daily grind of what you’re doing.”

For Livecchi, that distraction often came in the form of USO care packages, which his crew received half a dozen times during his tour with the Navy.

“Receiving those care packages meant a lot. You really are like kids on Christmas morning when you see those USO package come in. Just to receive some things that remind you of home and know that someone remembers you’re there means a lot,” Livecchi said.  

Operation USO Care Package MST Communications Vice President Kimberly Ramalho rings a bell signaling that another palette loading is complete.

Since that time, Livecchi has organized dozens of events to raise money for the troops, even passing around a hat for donations after weekly rugby games with other Gulf War veterans working at Lockheed Martin.

However, Wednesday was his first time participating in an Operation USO Care Package stuffing party. He, along with more than 200 Lockheed Martin employees and Navy volunteers, packed 5,020 care packages to be sent to troops serving overseas. The event was organized as part of the company’s longstanding partnership with the USO.

“It’s great to see everyone together. The morale of these events is unbelievable,” said Kristen Garver, the USO’s corporate alliances coordinator. “Lockheed Martin employees, in particular, get so excited. There are competitions between assembly lines. Music is playing. There are smiles on everyone’s faces. Everyone feels good. It’s great to see.”

Operation USO Care Package Brenda McDermott, Fire Controlman 2nd Class Gary Richard and Phil Livecchi work on the Operation USO Care Package assembly line.

Employees packed toiletries, food and other goodies from home during the day-long event. The packages will also include thank you cards from local elementary schools and special notes from Lockheed Martin employees. 

This was the third care package stuffing event Lockheed Martin hosted this year, with others occurring in Valley Forge, Pa., and Fort Worth, Texas. With a workforce that is nearly one-fifth veterans, getting hundreds of employees to volunteer for Operation USO Care Package events comes as no surprise.

Since 2008, Lockheed Martin employees and family members have stuffed 172,690 USO care packages for deployed service members, Garver said.

 “A lot of us have felt what it was like on the other end to receive that sort of comfort,” Livecchi said. “Now we just want to do what we can to give that back to our troops.”

Posted April 19, 2013

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