Inaugural Worship Service to Collect Toys for Kentucky Military Families

Click here to download or listen to audio of First Lady Jane Beshear discussing Operation Military Cheer and Inauguration Day events, including her favorite inaugural memory.

Kentucky National Guard Youth Coordinators Linda Jones and Cindy Culver pack gifts for the children of Kentucky military service members for Operation Military Cheer. More than 440 children and teens from all services received toys, clothing and food during last year's drive.

FRANKFORT, Ky.  –  Guests planning to attend the Inaugural Worship Service at the Frankfort Convention Center on Dec. 13 are asked to bring a new toy for the Kentucky National Guard’s Operation Military Cheer, a program that helps Kentucky military service members who may need assistance during the holiday season.

Gov. Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear, Lt. Gov.-elect Jerry Abramson and his wife, Madeline, encourage Kentuckians to consider the Governor’s inauguration a day of service.

“Inauguration day is meant to be a celebration with many fun, family-friendly events, but we also want to remember the men and women in uniform who fight for our freedom and our ability to celebrate democracy,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Partnering with Operation Military Cheer is an opportunity to support not only our troops, but also their families, who also make sacrifices on behalf of our nation.”

Operation Military Cheer was created by the Kentucky National Guard’s Family Programs Staff in 2005 to provide food, clothing and toys to military families during the holiday season. Military families who need such assistance may apply and be approved for the program.

“Last year we were able to provide gifts consisting of clothes, shoes, and toys for over 440 children and teens in Kentucky National Guard families,” said Cindy Culver, Kentucky National Guard state youth coordinator.  “This year we hope to provide for even more.”

Because of the change in location from a local church to the Convention Center, this year marks the first time in many years the Inaugural Worship Service will be open to the public. All Kentuckians are invited to participate in the nondenominational service that offers a solemn preparation for the events of the day.

The service will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Service members from any military branch in the Commonwealth may apply or be nominated to receive assistance from Operation Military Cheer based upon need.  Individuals may also apply to adopt an identified military family to support this Christmas. Besides toys, the program also collects winter clothing and gift cards to grocery and retail stores.

For more information about Operation Military Cheer, email Cindy Culver at Cindy.culver@us.army.mil or Linda Jones at Linda.jones15@us.army.mil, or call 1-800-372-7601.

The Worship Service, along with other inauguration events, will be broadcast live on the KET network.

The upcoming inauguration and celebration will cost significantly less than prior inaugurals, but will still offer many free events suitable for Kentucky families, according to Bob Stewart, the inauguration’s executive director. Event organizers will partner with many Kentucky vendors, use existing resources and reutilize and recycle when possible to create a more conservative event than in years past.

The governor and lieutenant governor will be sworn into office during a full day of festivities on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Updates, additional information and designated parking areas will be posted on the inauguration website at http://governor.ky.gov/inauguration.

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