SBC Community Affairs “Forces for Good Spotlight”: Operation Gratitude Shows Love to the NYPD


Posted on January 27, 2021
New SBC feature gives an important voice to our members

The Safer Buildings Coalition Community Affairs Work Group this month begins a new program to recognize noble causes – brought to our attention by an SBC Member. Our program is dubbed “Forces for Good Spotlight.”

In our very first Forces for Good Spotlight, the SBC Community Affairs Work Group has selected Operation Gratitude, as suggested by SBC Managing Director John Foley.

The SBC Community Affairs Work Group is led by Chairperson Laurie Caruso, CEO of Safe-Fi Technologies. The group works with organizations across the country to raise awareness about important causes and to further the Safer Buildings Coalition mission. The "do well while doing good" maxim is central to the Safer Buildings Coalition’s “Forces for Good” philosophy. Each month we put the spotlight on an important organization or cause – as suggested by you, the Safer Buildings Coalition members.

Beginning today, we will be accepting your nomination for our monthly Forces for Good Spotlight. You will have an opportunity to tell SBC readers about a noble cause, why you are passionate about it, and a little bit about you and your organization. 

To send us your nomination or share your passion, contact Laurie Caruso at [email protected] or SBC Senior Editor Mikkel Schultz at [email protected]

Safer Buildings Coalition: John, we’d like to hear all about your noble cause Operation Gratitude. But first, tell us about yourself and your organization?

John Foley: I’m the Managing Director of the Safer Buildings Coalition. I think people know a good bit about SBC, but maybe not about our “Forces for Good” philosophy, and the maxim of “doing well while doing good.” This excellent idea and many others are well-detailed in a groundbreaking book called Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Non-Profits, by Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod (I highly recommend).

About me: 2021 is my 46th year in the telecom industry, ranging from the technician bench to the C-Suite, with a little five-year detour into professional television production. I come from a family with a public safety tradition. A member of the Foley family has been wearing a badge from the Philadelphia Police Department in more years than not since the 1940s. My son Sean currently wears badge 2397, which was also my brother Michael’s badge number. In fact, Mike traded badges with Sean on the day he graduated from the academy, and Sean wears my brother’s badge every day on the job.  

Safer Buildings Coalition: This month, you spotlight Operation Gratitude ( Tell us about them.

John Foley: Operation Gratitude’s mission is to forge strong bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide.

The Operation Gratitude community of volunteers across the nation has been writing letters of gratitude, knitting and crocheting handmade items, hosting virtual collection drives for care packages, and making paracord bracelets. Through virtual volunteer opportunities, communities are able to come together and express their gratitude for our troops, First Responders, and our COVID-19 Frontline Responders.

Safer Buildings Coalition: How did you learn about Operation Gratitude,and why does it matter to you?

John Foley: I began working with Operation Gratitude founder Carolyn Blashek back in 2008. We collaborated with Carolyn and her team to send care packages to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world.

Per their recent press release, I learned that for this year Operation Gratitude is partnering with the NYPD to assemble and deliver 30,000 care packages containing handwritten letters of appreciation from grateful Americans, coffee, hydration drinks, single-serve snacks, candy, hygiene, and other comfort items to COVID Frontline Responders. The launch event, for the assembly of 3,000 care packages, is the first of multiple events throughout the year, focused on bringing community volunteers together to share gratitude for the service and courage of their NYPD Officers.

As Operation Gratitude's CEO Kevin Schmeigel recently told the NY Post; "We're going to do this over the next eight months and literally express the appreciation of the American people, our one-million volunteers, to every police officer in the NYPD." 

"What we do is much more than just assemble care packages and say thank you,” Schmeigel said. “We go a step beyond that. We make those meaningful connections so that civilians get a chance to talk to our military families, they get to talk to police officers, firefighters, and EMTs. They get to talk to doctors and nurses in hospitals responding to COVID and they start to understand what it's like." 

Safer Buildings Coalition: Thanks for helping raise awareness about this important cause. How can Safer Buildings Coalition members and followers get involved?

John Foley: For more information visit  

Operation Gratitude

WWW IconFaceBookLinkedIn

Get involved

Note from Laurie Caruso, SBC Community Affairs Chair:
Thanks for sharing this important information, John. Hey, SBC members and friends: Do you have a noble cause that's dear to your heart? 

Let us know! We would love to highlight your cause in an upcoming SBC newsletter. Our newsletter reaches over 4,000 public safety industry professionals monthly, including First Responders, Fire Code Officials, Radio System Administrators, Government Agencies, and the entire Wireless Industry Ecosystem. We’ll amplify your message on all social media platforms. Borrow our megaphone! Be heard!