Operation Enduring Gratitude Renovates Veterans’ Homes at No Cost

Operation Enduring Gratitude Founder Charlie Ellis and veteran volunteers prepare to renovate a veteran's home.

Operation Enduring Gratitude Founder Charlie Ellis and veteran volunteers prepare to renovate a veteran’s home.

George Stahl

The Jewish War Veterans cordially invite you to join them at their monthly meeting Sunday, Jan. 19, to hear Charlie Ellis speak about Operation Enduring Gratitude. We convene in the Mirror Room at Sun Lakes Country Club at 9:30 a.m.

Charlie Ellis, a National Guard veteran, enlisted on his 18th birthday, and subsequently served a total of 10 years. Helping veterans and their families is one of his passions; another is construction. According to Ellis, one day while volunteering with a group of contractors on a home revitalization project for a 70-year-old Maryville woman, Ellis turned to a friend and asked, “Why wasn’t something like this being done for local veterans?” The friend answered him, “Because you haven’t started one.” Ellis got busy and in April, 2014, he founded Operation Enduring Gratitude. Ellis, a general contractor, always wanted to use his talents and skills to do something to show veterans and their families that they are appreciated and cared about.

The organization, Operation Enduring Gratitude, dedicated to making sure veterans do not go unnoticed, has given him that opportunity. Under Ellis’ direction, with the aid of a team of dedicated volunteers and generous businesses, this organization, among other things, has rebuilt five houses and constructed and installed 50 wheelchair ramps around the Valley. St. Vincent de Paul recognized them for building a ramp, at no charge, at one of their facilities which houses 30 veterans. If not for Ellis’ efforts, the ramp would have cost the organization about $10,000.

In July, one of the latest projects Ellis and his team worked on was for Navy veteran Krista Petersen who had recently moved to Apache Junction from San Francisco to help her brother with his battle against cancer. Petersen, who served in the Navy for six years in the first Gulf War, had come to Arizona carrying only the bare essentials.

Arrangements for the house she was supposed to move into suddenly fell through, and she was without a place to live. When Ellis heard about her situation from the Veterans Resource Center, he and his team went into action. They were able to get a mobile home donated to Petersen, and Ellis went to work on renovating the home for her. To hear the rest of the story firsthand, the Jewish War Veterans urge you to join them in welcoming Charlie Ellis at the January meeting. You won’t be disappointed.

Ellis and Operation Enduring Freedom have received an abundance of accolades for their service to the veteran community. Tune into your favorite TV station, open a newspaper, look online, and you’re likely to find more about this wonderful organization.

JWV membership is open to everyone in the community. Members and nonveterans represent a wide range of religious affiliations. Support is provided to Arizona veterans of all religions and beliefs. Post 619 meets the third Sunday of every month in the Sun Lakes Country Club Mirror Room at 9:30 a.m. Meetings feature speakers focused on supporting veterans, and refreshments are served. For additional information about JWV activities and membership, please contact Commander Robert Brooks at 480-588-1827 or [email protected]. See you at the Post.