On Jan. 16, 2008 Miki and her volunteer helpers Judy Kelly, Judy Stuart, Ann Thomas, and photographer Lloyd Jones were invited to the certificate awards ceremony of two USMC Certification Classes at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA. Approximately 50 Marines had attended these “hands-on” training classes in “Residential Wiring”- taught by Paul Reimer and “Air Conditioning Principles”-taught by John Stuart. Now that they have finished their courses they will be deployed to Iraq or wherever they are needed.
Miki was invited to attend this event by John Stuart and the Deans of Instructional Programs at OCC, Drs. Mendoza and Benoit, and was asked to bring along her beanies for distribution. After the certificates were awarded Miki gave a little speech about Operation Beanies for Service Members and her mission. When 110 beanies were placed onto a table for all the Marines to choose from they were gone in no time at all. There were a few requests for red, white and blue beanies, but everyone was happy with their choice. Many Marines gave Miki a big hug of appreciation and promised to wear their beanies “with pride”.
Over coffee and cookies donated by Ralph’s Supermarket at Brookhurst and Adams in Huntington Beach, and by Starbuck’s at Brookhurst and Ellis in Fountain Valley, everyone enjoyed visiting and Miki was invited back by a grateful Dr. Mendoza to share her special beanie gifts with Marines in future classes. He acknowledged what a morale builder these beanies are for our military personnel and how proud he is of Miki and Operation Beanies for Service Members.
It was such a positive and happy event that Miki commented she would have a hard time sleeping that night because she would re-live this experience over and over again.
Operation Beanies could not exist without the dedication, help, and contributions of all of you beanie makers. It is heartwarming to realize how thankful every service member is who gets a beanie and what a great way it is to show our appreciation and love for our country and the men and women who serve it and fight for it.