Our Story

In September 2004, Cindy McGrew began a mission of hope. When her friend, Montgomery County, MD Police Officer, Sgt. Russo went to Iraq as an International Police Advisor in June of 2004, Cindy was prompted to do a web search of the unit that he was attached to. After finding the Stryker News website, Cindy began reading the site daily for updates to ongoing situations and heard about three soldiers that were injured and en route to Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Washington, D.C.  Immediately, Cindy sent emails to the families, letting them know she lived fairly close to WRNMMC, offering her support and assistance as a contact in the area in the event they needed anything. She went to WRNMMC and introduced herself to the three families and from there, developed life long bonds and friendships. This mission began with Scott Thorne, Mike Oreskovic and Travis Majors.
Cindy began visiting families at the request of the other soldiers she had met. Soon, word spread and she seemed to be branching out to even more families, wanting to help in any way possible.
In November 2004, Debbie and Alaina Sacramo joined Cindy in her daily visits to the hospital. All three were able to visit with the soldiers and their family members, picking up groceries, clothing and any other essential items that were needed to make their stay more comfortable. They met families with small children and saw the need for them to have play pens in their rooms, so the parents could put their children down and tend to their wounded spouses. This also allowed for the children to nap in comfort. At the request of some soldiers, they stopped by local restaurants, bringing them milk shakes and meals. Friendships began to develop with the soldiers and their family members, making the trip to WRNMMC part of their daily routine.
During the month of December, Sue Harrington helped facilitate the Boxes for Heroes campaign. All four women reached out to their families, friends, coworkers and community for donations to these brown boxes. The boxes were filled with goodies, magazines and the like – some decorated with holiday themes – and delivered to the wounded soldiers at Walter Reed.
In March 2005 it became apparent that this simple mission could become something much larger than any of the individuals involved imagined. Ride Allegheny offered a fundraiser for the wounded soldiers, Freedom Ride 2005, thus creating the need for a non-profit organization. The foundation for Operation Second Chance, Inc. was established in March 2005.
Our goal is to provide support for soldiers while they are here at WRNMMC and then to further assist them when they transition either back to duty or back to civilian life. Operation Second Chance, Inc. has received 501 (c) 3 status, effective March 16, 2005.
We would like to dedicate this site to all military personnel – men and women who have served our country – past, present and future. Thank you for all you have done and given.


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