Operation Bald Eagle seeks fan support at Eastlake homecoming
October 11, 2011
By Christopher Huber
If you’re headed to watch the Issaquah High School Eagles take on the Eastlake High School Wolves on Oct. 14, be sure to look out for members of the Army and Marines in their Humvees.
The service members will be at the game to help garner support for Operation Bald Eagle, a Sammamish-based organization that supports military families and those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty.
Jeff Mitchell, the founder, and Dr. Mark Nelson’s Sammamish office staff will collect basic school supplies for military families, as well as general supplies for care packages, which they will send to troops overseas. Operation Bald Eagle will also conduct a raffle for a chance to win an iPad.
The goal is to supply about 150 families at Fort Lewis with enough pencils, paper, notebooks, backpacks, etc., to offset the cost of buying them all themselves, Mitchell said.
“We want to deliver to them 150-plus backpacks that are supplied with all that in them,” he said.
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Mitchell and the military members will be there throughout the game, but plan to announce the raffle winner in the third quarter.
To add competition to the collection, the visiting Issaquah football team and families will attempt to out-collect the organization, which will have a table at Eastlake High school stadium.
Operation Bald Eagle started in 2009 to help families who lost a loved one in the line of duty — military, fire or police — pick up the pieces in life, Mitchell said.
The organization remains in relationship with a given family for up to three years after the incident, helping the family in a longer-term grieving process.
For example, in the aftermath of Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton’s death in 2009, Operation Bald Eagle worked with his family, eventually providing a horse and horse-training sessions for his daughter, Mitchell said. It proved to be a key influence in the young girl’s emotional recovery, he said.