Every day is Armed Forces Day for the men and women who are serving in active duty. What does a cigar mean to someone who is deployed on a mission? Just think what a cigar means to you.
A good cigar relaxes the mind, whether you’re kicking back on the deck, strolling the beach or watching embers at the firepit. A cigar contains the flavors of memories. Subsequent smokes take you back to those that came before. Prized moments with friends, family or just you and the universe.
Now imagine how crucial a cigar is to a servicemember who is stationed in a war zone. Under extreme stressful conditions, a moment to unwind with a cigar helps create a place of peace, even if it’s just for an hour.
But good cigars are next to impossible to snag when a unit is deployed, unless those servicemembers reach out to Operation: Cigars for Warriors (OP: CFW). OP: CFW is the only organization that specializes in sending premium cigars to all branches of the military in combat zones or long term deployments, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
And where do the cigars come from? Prior to May 2016, cigar makers could donate product to OP: CFW, but no more. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) now bans cigar manufactures from donating cigars to charities, such as OP: CFW.
So OP: CFW relies solely on cigar shops and cigar lovers to donate, which is still allowed by the FDA. Read on to learn how cigar aficionados like you can make a difference for BOTL/SOTL who are on active duty.
CIGAR CARE PACKAGE IS A MAJOR DRAW
Major Josh Fraser knows all too well how smoking a good stick can transport a soldier away from the current stressors of war. “Here in Afghanistan, a good smoke is the delicious experience that captures your senses and leads you back to a familiar place, like the woods at home, the lake or your front porch.”
Annually, OP: CFW serves about 25,000 service people. Since its inception, the cigar charity has shipped more than 750,000 cigars. Where do the donations come from? Cigar loyalists, like you. DONATE NOW
While serving four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, for Major Fraser, stress is “an everyday thing here.”
“Sometimes soldiers feel the stress of personal danger, and other times the stress associated with accomplishing the mission. Regardless of our individual situations all of us are fully invested in our country’s success abroad, and our success or failures can have tremendous effects on our country, our families or our individual lives.
“Therefore a simple pleasure like smoking a cigar is so much more than simply smoking. It’s 45 minutes of quiet reflection or stress-relieving conversation that improves our quality of life.”
During his own military tours, Retired Army First Sergeant Storm Boen knew the importance of a good smoke. This is why he created OP: CFW—to give American heroes much-deserved time to decompress.
Being shot at, trying to stay alive and being away from friends and family are not the moments servicemembers should remember. Relaxing over cigars with colleagues—those are the visions to hold on to.
2 MONTHS—OR LONGER—TO WAIT FOR A SMOKE, WHAT?
OP: CFW cigar demand is way exceeding its supply. In honor of Armed Forces Day, donate what you pay for one, just one, premium cigar to OP: CFW. Set up a monthly OP: CFW auto donation on PayPal right here, right now.
OP: CFW is a 501 (c) (3) charity, so your donation is tax deductible. There are three ways to give:
- Click here to immediately set up your monthly auto donation or give one time.
- Dip into your humidor for a few favorite sticks and send cigars directly to OP: CFW.
- Drop off cigars at any of 200 OP: CFW’s donation sites. Many are in smoke shops, where you can also buy a box and leave it there.
BOVEDA TARGETS HARSH CONDITIONS
Ever smoked a cigar at sea or in the middle of the desert? Humidity—too much or too little—is the enemy of premium cigars.
As OP: CFW’s charter sponsor, Boveda protects the cigars while they are in transit to the service men and women. No matter how threatening the environment, Boveda’s 2-way humidity control adds and absorbs moisture to lock in a precise 69% RH that’s perfect for cigars.
NO MORE RATIONING
Please set up a recurrent monthly donation to buy one servicemember one premium cigar. Demand met. Armed Forces happy. GIVE NOW.
Thanks to OP: CFW’s Jamie Lemon for contributing to this post.