Mission Included Entertainer Tony Orlando and Other Performers Providing Entertainment for U.S. Military Personnel
FORT WORTH, Texas, April 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- American Airlines and Operation Iraqi Children (OIC), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense, have returned to the United States after distributing more than 20 tons of basic school supplies, new Crocs™ shoes and other items to children in Iraq. The American Airlines OIC mission returned Thursday, April 16, following an eight-day journey to transport the cargo.
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On April 8, volunteers from American and OIC loaded the school supplies and other items onto an American Airlines 767. This was the largest one-time shipment of supplies in Operation Iraqi Children's history, with 10,000 school kits to be delivered. Adding to the cause, Crocs SolesUnited(SM) program -- a humanitarian shoe donation effort -- teamed up to provide more than 6,000 pairs of Crocs™ shoes for the Iraqi children.
"American Airlines was honored to be the first U.S. passenger airline to transport this humanitarian cargo for distribution in Iraq," said Roger Frizzell, Vice President - Corporate Communications at American Airlines. "It is inspiring to see what our servicemen and women are doing to form relationships with the families and children in Iraq. American was privileged to be a part of this mission and witness firsthand the support our soldiers provide to the Iraqi children in need."
OIC was founded in 2004 by actor Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, CSI: NY) and author Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit: An American Legend). OIC enables Americans to send school supply kits and other necessities, which are distributed by U.S. soldiers directly to Iraqi children. OIC had its genesis during Operation Iraqi Freedom, as U.S. soldiers learned that children in Iraqi villages lacked the most basic school supplies such as pencils and writing paper.
With support from the U.S. Department of Defense, American also flew approximately 75 volunteers and entertainers, including singer Tony Orlando, universally known for his anthem of hope and reunion, Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree, to help distribute supplies in Iraq and entertain U.S. troops.
The journey began at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). From there the aircraft traveled to load additional cargo at the American Airlines maintenance facility in Kansas City, Mo., before departing for Kuwait. From there, the cargo, volunteers and entertainers were airlifted to Iraq.
In addition to the OIC shipment, the Dallas-Fort Worth-based Peter Burks Unsung Hero Fund gathered donations of snacks, supplies, books and video games for the troops serving in Iraq, and soccer balls for the Iraqi children. Dedicated to continuing the legacy of 2nd Lt. Peter Burks, who was killed in action in Iraq on Nov. 14, 2007, the fund is managed by Burks' father, Alan, and his fiancee, Missy Haddad. For more information about the fund, visit www.unsungherofund.org.
To learn more about OIC, visit www.operationiraqichildren.org.
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SOURCE: American Airlines