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thedrifter
08-16-09, 09:11 AM
Operation Homelink returns to Camp Lejeune

8/14/2009 By Lance Cpl. Dwight A. Henderson , 2nd Marine Division
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. —

Communicating with a loved one deployed overseas can be difficult, especially when those left behind do not have constant access to a computer. One non-profit organization identified this problem, and sprang into action to help those serving their country.

Operation Homelink, based in Chicago, met with Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force and their families at Camp Lejeune’s Goettge Memorial Field House to distribute free computers to a number of Marine families, Aug. 8, 2009.

Operation Homelink was founded in 2003 by Dan Shannon, and since then, he has worked tirelessly to provide computers to the families of junior Marines who are scheduled to, or have already deployed, in the hopes that the computer will help the Marines and their family members stay connected through the deployment.

“Service members offer a service I could never repay,” explained Shannon, “but I can make a small dent by opening up communications.”

Since 2003, Shannon’s organization has donated nearly 3,000 computers to service members across the nation from all branches of the military, and this is their third trip to Camp Lejeune.

For the wife of Sgt. David Gonzalez, an assaultman with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which is currently deployed to Afghanistan, the program is key in her ability to communicate with her family.

“It means the world to me,” said Gonzalez. “Now my kids will be able to send e-mail that they haven’t been able to send.”

Col. David C. Fuquea, chief of staff, 2nd Marine Division, expressed his thanks to Operation Homelink.

“From all of us here at Camp Lejeune, thank you so much for your efforts. You obviously have an impact in supporting the Marine Corps around the world. Thank you very much.”

Operation Homelink continues to collect donated computers from different organizations around America. For more information, visit www.operationhomelink.org.

For more information on the II Marine Expeditionary Force, visit the unit’s web site at www.iimefpublic.usmc.mil.

Ellie