Veterans are blessed with more charities than ever to help and support them post service.  A few focus on the children of those who have made the supreme sacrifice.  “Operation 300” can be counted among those few.  “Forging the Heart of the Warrior” is the creed of Operation 300 as their volunteers seek “to honor the families of the fallen.”  They do this by hosting several camps yearly that bring the children of these heroes into camping events that foster “a culture of courage, strength, freedom, endurance, honor and godly morality embodied by fearless patriots throughout the history of our American Republic.”  The charity also hopes to create mentoring relationships among the specially selected volunteers and the kids.

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The charity’s positive uplifting goal finds its roots in the tragic loss of Navy SEAL, Aaron Carson Vaughn.  Aaron was killed along with 30 other special operations service members responding to a request for assistance by a special operations unit engaged with the enemy.  Aaron’s family thought they could celebrate his life by creating an organization dedicated in fostering the qualities that he embodied continuing his tradition of service by serving those most impacted by loss, the children and spouses of those lost to war.

Operation 300 organizes and runs almost half a dozen camps a year.  These are three activity filled days with children and their parent coming from all over the country to experience fun and fellowship.  Fellowship in a wholesome family style atmosphere with outdoor events serves as the vehicle to make that happen.  The weekends’ goal is to inspire those qualities Aaron stood for as well as building relationships for those living through the loss of a parent.  Operation 300 has been able to serve over 200 kids and their families to date by creating and providing these expense free events to these special families.

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Navy SEAL Aaron Carson Vaughn was killed in action August 6, 2011.

Each camp hosts about 25 kids who start off the weekend with teambuilding events like building a picnic table or starting a campfire for their icebreaking campfire style meal.  Over the weekend the outdoor activities include events like fishing, sailing, surfing, paddle boarding, archer and horseback riding.  Local law enforcement hosts a range day as well as local fire rescue arranging an outing for the kids to the firehouse.

Moms are also flown out to Florida and accommodated at a local hotel.  There they meet, eat, and have some shared experiences to create friendships as well as opportunities to share how they deal with loss and life.  The weekend provides these parents dealing with loss and raising a child with the opportunituy to make a friend in a similar circumstance.

The weekend camps happen through the funding collected by Operation 300, volunteer contributions and the efforts of big hearted companies that have a soft spot for these special kids.  Companies like Fishing DOA, US Sailing Center, local law enforcement/fire department and LALO contribute their time, expertise and equipment to make unforgettable weekends happen for those that have lost a loved parent in service to the nation.  Operation 300 also participates in fund raising events.

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Operation 300 is a 501(c) organization that currently runs its camps on private land in Stuart Florida.  It’s looking for a permanent home.  The charity’s funding is generated through individual contributions.  Once a year it hosts the Aaron Vaughn Frogman Swim.  It’s a 2 day event which includes a dinner and an open water swim off of Jensen Beach, FL.  The event celebrates Aaron’s life and honors other warriors who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the Republic.  Operation 300 is also looking for and working with a variety of companies to create a fund raising event at the 2017 Shot Show.

Spotter Up is proud to be part of this effort.  We’ll be promoting Operation 300, the dozens of companies coming together to help it and upcoming fundraising events especially the upcoming Las Vegas Shot Show 2017 extravaganza, “Shot in the Dark”.  Stay tuned for our follow on piece showcasing the synergy of companies coming together at the nation’s premier shooting trade show to promote a charity serving the kids of the fallen.  It promises to be a one of a kind event.

 

 

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About The Author

Will Rodriguez is a 20+ year former Infantry officer with experience in both light and mechanized units as well as armor. His last assignment was serving in the Infantry school's battle lab doing DOTMLPF (doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities) assessment on weapon systems, equipment) assessment on weapons systems, equipment and technology to equip the Infantry for the next 10-20 years. Will also is the senior editor for GruntsandCo.com a website dedicated to issues of interest to the Infantrymen and those that support them. Will is a frequent contributor to Spotter up as well as an assistant editor. His work has also been published in SpecialOperations.com, SOFREP.com, the Loadout Room and Infantry Magazine. He is also a firearms instructor and holds a masters in Counseling and Leader Development.

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