There are times in your life when you come across people who are making a significant difference in the lives of others in our Community. Years ago I heard about a non-profit organization called Manasota Operation Troop Support (MOTS). At that time one of our neighbors was a special-needs child and their class at King Middle School was involved in packaging boxes for our local military personnel who were serving overseas. Jim Comkowycz, his special education teacher, had an Army son who had been injured serving in the Middle East. When Jim returned from visiting his son at Walter Reed Medical Center he felt very strongly that our community could do more to acknowledge and support our local military troops and their families. And so he enlisted the help of his special needs classroom and faculty at King. Jim and the students felt the excitement of being able to contribute time to help others who were protecting them and their families by serving in our Armed Forces. Our friend name?) enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that he got from going around the neighborhood collecting the sweet and sour treats and hygiene supplies necessary to pack up these care boxes. This was the MOTS of years ago…packaging boxes out of King Middle School.
When Jim retired, Linda Craig took over at the helm of MOTS and has made a significant impact serving our military community. Over the years MOTS has evolved into a two county non- profit charity, always striving to support troops and their families, before during and after deployment. That still involves regular care packages but MOTS also fills personal and emergency family needs. Over the years she has freely given of her time, talents and money to keep MOTS going. Today I received a call from Linda Craig. She told me that if MOTS is unable to raise at least $50,000 within the next several months, they may be unable to provide the help and assistance many of our Veterans, Military Members and their families have come to depend on.
MOTS continues to send an average of 100 boxes of supplies to our Sarasota/Manatee Military personnel who are serving overseas each month. The average cost per month for shipping these boxes is $2,000. But this is not the only financial expense that Linda has. This summer she has seen an increase in the number of veterans who are experiencing extenuating circumstances and need financial assistance.
Many of our military personnel’s children receive free or reduced breakfasts and lunches at school and during the summer months some of these families have difficulty purchasing the extra food for the household. Whether it is food for a family of six, or a gas card to get to work until payday, Linda doesn’t like to say “no”. Many of these needs are immediate needs that cannot be met on short notice through other agencies. Linda said that in these cases MOTS has been their only hope. After being involved in this community for 6 years she also has many referral sources at hand to guide veterans to more services that they are entitled to.
But Linda doesn’t stop at food and gas. When a veteran’s child needed a new hearing aid mold at 10 months and the family couldn’t afford it, MOTS gladly sent the check for $300. A 69 year old female veteran with a reverse mortgage on her home was going to lose it because she could not afford the insurance. MOTS paid the premium and got her an appointment to see a Veterans Service Officer in Manatee County to try to raise her military disability percentage of 10% so that her budget might actually work for her. MOTS helped her save her home.
A local husband and wife military couple were both serving away from home when their house flooded, damaging everything they owned, including carpet, toys, furniture and clothes. They had insurance but there was a large deductible to be paid. MOTS came to their rescue by donating $500 to help toward that debt.
Each year the local Elk’s clubs provide a week long, no electronics allowed camp, free of charge to children of military personnel and veterans in our area. The camp is located 2 ½ hours away, if it weren’t for MOTS providing the transportation these children would not have been able to attend.
These additional individualized expenses are coupled with the normal every day costs of successfully sustaining a vibrant non-profit. We at Key Konnections , LLC are assisting Linda in creating future stability for MOTS. Manasota Operation Troop Support has served over 400 military troops and their families, meeting a wide range of needs. Now MOTS needs help. As a community we must come together to financially assist MOTS in continuing their mission of helping those whom are serving our Country, those who have served and also their families.
For more information on how you can help contact Linda Craig, Executive Director, MOTS at 941-782-0748; email email@example.com or contact Terri Davis, CEO, Key Konnections, LLC at 941-705-0231 or email firstname.lastname@example.org