Veterans Request | Active-Duty Request | Community Involvement

Local veterans aid Operation Troop Appreciation

Local veterans spent a recent Saturday packing boxes with toiletries, candy and wish list items for a younger generation of Americans fighting far away from home.

“There was nothing like this for us,” said Bob “Bullet” Daley, a WWII Marine veteran, who fought in the battle of Saipan.

Daley, a member of Bethel Park American Legion Post 760 and the Marine Corps League Detachment 726, along with other veterans from those organizations and members of the legion auxiliary and the Sons of the Legion, volunteered with Operation Troop Appreciation to pack the boxes for troops serving overseas. The groups also made donations to help defray the cost of shipping the care packages.

“We know exactly what they are going through,” Daley said. “They deserve it and we are happy to do it for them.”

A banner signed by members of Post 760 and Valentines made by local school children were also sent to the troops.

Operation Troop Appreciation, a national organization which was started in 2004, is dedicated to building and sustaining the morale of deployed troops, enabling them to complete their missions with the assurance that the American public supports and appreciates their selfless service and daily sacrifices. The organization is operated completely by volunteers, with 98.5 percent of the donations going directly to the troops.

The organization takes requests from deployed troops and sends them requested items, such as fire proof clothing and other items to supplement military issued supplies, as well as personal care items that troops assigned to outpost areas can’t purchase. In addition, the organization sends snacks, DVD movies and gaming systems.

What the group needs most are donations to purchase the items and funds to ship the boxes, said Monica Orluk, president and chief operating officer – shipping costs are approximately $3,500 a month.

Bethel Park Legion members plan to stay involved with the organization, said John Normile, commander of the post.

The packages are a “big time morale booster” for the troops and “our way of saying thank you for what you are doing,” said Normile.

The group operates out of a donated retail space at Century III Mall in West Mifflin. The space serves as the group’s headquarters and also houses displays of military history, and is staffed by volunteers from noon-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays. – Susan Schmeichel

David leads the build-out of First Commonwealth’s advisory talent, with a particular emphasis on retirement and estate planning, and customized investment solutions. He is committed to providing a culture of customization and flexibility, ensuring superior service to the client.  

Before joining First Commonwealth, he served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director at FNB Wealth Management, responsible for the organization’s wealth management sales strategy, revenue retention efforts, investment agency accounts, employee benefit plans, foundations, endowments and trustee relationships. He also spent time at Federated Investors and PNC Wealth Management earlier in his career.  

David is a Certified Public Accountant, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from John Carroll University in Ohio and received his MBA from Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh.

Lesley brings over 25 years of experience in financial services, focusing on Insurance & Annuity marketing, product and distribution. Before Joining GBU, Lesley served as the CMO and Head of Distribution for Knighthead Annuity & Life Assurance Company, as founding leader driving the company’s growth to over $2 Billion in assets under management. Lesley spent 20 years with Prudential Financial as SVP, Relationship Management for Prudential’s annuity business, responsible for the management, business development, sales, and marketing for the firm’s 300 institutional clients. She grew sales from under $10 billion a year to over $21 Billion, becoming the largest distributor of annuities in the industry.

As a senior executive, Lesley’s passion is around growing, developing, and evolving businesses, while leveraging the strengths that already exist in the business. She works to understand the culture, the business framework, and the people, shaping her determination to build high-performance teams and successful organizations. Lesley holds B.A. In Economics & Political Science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.