For the ninth year in a row, Operation Best Wishes has made sure those serving overseas were able to see and hear from their loved ones.
“Since 2004, literally thousands have sat in front of our cameras to connect with loved ones,” said Walt Laskos, founder of Operation Best Wishes and principal of communications/PR/branding firm The Laskos Group.
“For me, it has been an honor to join with Arty Arteaga at Defense Credit Union Council, my OBW team colleagues Joe Keller and Kevin Mann, and all the credit union CEOs over the years who have hosted our program at their shops so that we can bring a smile to those who have given so very much for our freedom,” Laskos said.
The national program gives military families free access to a mobile video recording studio where their 10-minute personal greetings become animated holiday video greeting cards for distribution over the Internet.
The video recording studio, complete with cameras, lights and a technician, has the technology to superimpose families over such backgrounds as a decorated family room complete with stockings hung on the mantle of a cozy fireplace. Afterwards, family members receive a hard copy of the video message, as well as a link to access the archived recording via secured website.
According to Charles Crisler, assistant vice president of public relations at Albuquerque, N.M.-based Kirtland Federal Credit Union, one of the best features of the program has been the ability for those deployed to view the greetings as many times as they like.
“Before joining the credit union I was in the Air Force of 30 years and I remember how much it meant when my family would send me something,” said Crisler. “I know there’s Skype but when deployed you’re not necessarily at a location where there’s a good Internet connection and once the call’s over it’s done. But I know whenever I got a DVD from home I’d love being able to watch it over and over again.”
This year the national tour of Operation Best Wishes has covered eight states.