Category: Events

Season of Giving is here – Mt. Carmel is ready


By Ret. Army Col. Bob McLaughlinBob McLaughlin Photo
Chief Operating Officer

We joined the community to kick off the Season of Giving with two important events: a wreath telethon timed ahead of Veterans Day and our annual Operation Turkeys for Troops before Thanksgiving.

The telethon, in partnership with KRDO News Channel 13 and, is part of a nationwide effort to place wreaths on the graves of fallen veterans across the nation on Dec. 14. Our team will assist the community with placements at 10 a.m.

As families of the fallen visit local cemeteries to celebrate their cherished veteran over the holidays, a simple holiday wreaths will signal that this grateful community remembers and honors the sacrifice.

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, we continued an important Mt. Carmel Tradition: Operation Turkeys for Troops! With the help of generous donors and sponsors, we provided 1,396 turkeys to families of service members assigned to local military installations, 100 complete Thanksgiving baskets to local Gold Star Families, and an additional 200 baskets to the veteran community.

Heartfelt thanks, smiling faces and deep appreciation was the response from our military and veteran community for the Thanksgiving bounty. While many were honored (or embarrassed) to be recognized for their service, we know others face hidden challenges – food insecurity, employment difficulties, struggles with post-traumatic stress, and more. It was a unique opportunity to highlight Mt. Carmel as the Beacon of Support.

As the Season of Giving continues, collection boxes are in our lobby and ready for Toys for Tots, 4KidzSports and non-perishable food donations to provide a hand-up this holiday season. In 2018, generous donations from community organizations and military, veteran and civic collection efforts made Mt. Carmel the largest Toys for Tots collection site in the Pikes Peak region.

Toys for Tots requests new, unwrapped toys for infants, children and teens. Mt. Carmel is also a collection site for, 4KidzSports, a local non-profit that provides gently-used sports gear to help youth advance their lives through their faith and participation in sports, music, the arts, academics, and leadership training. And, as part of Mt. Carmel’s ongoing efforts, we’re requesting non-perishable food donations to help veterans and their families.

As the nation continues the longest period of sustained combat operations in our history, communities struggle for new ways to support our troops, veterans and families in meaningful ways.

Beyond wreaths and turkeys, we need to re-dedicate ourselves to offer a more impactful hand-up. This means good jobs for veterans and families; easy access to behavioral health and supportive services; and sometimes a listening ear when a veteran is ready to share the story of their service. Providing a hand-up requires a strong grip and these are the muscles required.

At Mt. Carmel, this is our focus each day and we’re thankful to many community partners who serve alongside our staff – all with a servant’s heart.

To all who see this message: if you need our services, or know someone who does, please visit; to future partners and supporters wishing to make a positive and direct impact, please reach out so we may personally introduce you to Mt. Carmel.

On behalf of the entire Mt. Carmel family, we wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving!


Mt. Carmel’s annual holiday tradition, Operation TURKEYS FOR TROOPS, ended in record time Nov. 21 as 200 Thanksgiving Baskets were distributed in less than 30 minutes to members of the military and veteran community with all supplies exhausted before 4 p.m.

Earlier in the day, 100 food baskets were set aside for presentation to Gold Star Families who lost a family member in combat service to the nation, and an additional 1,200 individual turkeys were provided to chaplains and first sergeants for distribution to families on local military installations.

“We’re grateful for the support of generous community partners, donors and volunteers who have ensured Thanksgiving celebrations for 1,500 military and veteran families of the Pikes Peak region. We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving,” said Retired Army Col. Bob McLaughlin, Mt. Carmel Chief Operating Officer.

This marks the third year Mt. Carmel has conducted Operation TURKEYS FOR TROOPS. Beyond Operation TURKEYS FOR TROOPS, Mt. Carmel and its partners provide food and beverages year-round to returning Soldiers at the Fort Carson Special Events Center.  Mt. Carmel also partners with base chaplains and local organizations supporting military widows and wounded warriors to provide food assistance vouchers and more, as needed, throughout the year.

Celebration and Reflection on Family, Service and Sacrifice

by Retired Army Col. Bob McLaughlin, Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, Chief Operating Officer

The many special dates on the calendar in May brought great celebration and reflection this month. Allow me to highlight just a few.

On May 10, we marked Military Spouse Appreciation Day. The spouses of our military heroes face many unique challenges as they support their service member serving our nation, not the least of which is the hardship of managing and maintaining a career of their own as they transition from one duty station to another.

As the nation enjoys historically low unemployment of less than five percent, our military spouses do not. They face nationwide unemployment of 16 to 24 percent, depending on which survey you read, and underemployment averaging 56 percent. These stats are unacceptable and negatively impact quality of life for military and veteran families. The Mt. Carmel team is doing its part to combat this inequality.

   In partnership with regional ABC affiliate KRDO and the MilHousing Network, we hosted the National MilSpouse Career Summit with live-webcast from Mt. Carmel. The effort was carried via webcast to ABC affiliate pages in 13 cities with large military and veteran communities. The effort featured employers and resources responding to audience questions submitted over social media. Bringing awareness and viable employment options to a wide audience is one positive step we have taken. Video of the informative and inspiring event is posted to our website at

As we near Memorial Day, we will pause and take a knee to honor our brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice so we could live free and bountiful lives. With several inspiring community services on that day, please find an appropriate moment to honor all who died in service to our nation.

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Your donation can make a difference in a Veteran’s life today!

Your generosity enables us to provide vital services to veterans and their families through our programs, resources and education. At Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, we make it easy for military and their families to receive the support and services they need by bringing a broad range of agencies and programming together under one roof.