July 12 through July 18, customers were invited to show their support for military families by donating a rose at checkout. Then, on July 23, a team of helpful smiles from the 37th Street Hy-Vee presented these flowers to the military families who attended the Operation Welcome Home retreat at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch.
The idea for this campaign came from Marthamae Kottschade, Hy-Vee’s floral manager at the 37th Street store. As a mother of two Marine sons, she understands firsthand the sacrifices these military families make.
Tracy Bashore, director of operations, welcomed the attendees to the chapel on Sunday morning then handed the microphone to Marthamae, who announced the success of the campaign and surprised the crowd with 1,680 roses. The families were called up one by one, and Marthamae presented each of the 70 attendees with a bouquet of two dozen beautiful roses, a warm hug and a sincere thank-you.
Operation Welcome Home is a series of faith-based weekends at the Miracle Lodge to provide encouragement, hope, and inspiration to active military, veterans and their families. The retreat is free for all attending. All funding is provided by donations from businesses, organizations, and individuals. Since 2008, approximately 7000 families have participated in the retreat.
Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch is a Christian Camp and Conference/Retreat Center located in southern Minnesota serving over 24,000 people per year, specializing in programs for youth, physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and military. Their mission is to engage people, regardless of life experience, and teach them the joy of living out their God-given purpose, through the love of Christ.
A grand total of 3,000 roses were donated during that week in July, so there are 1,320 remaining roses to be presented to the families who attend the upcoming Operation Welcome Home retreat in October.
We are so thankful for the generosity of Hy-Vee customers who made this happen!