Operation Troop Aid Supports Our Men and Women in Uniform

No matter how bad the economy or the job market may be, America’s men and women in the military face hardships the rest of us can’t even fathom. Troops who are deployed to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries where there are no traditional rules of engagement, and a threat to life and limb can take the form of a child or a woman, often have very little support.

 That’s where Operation Troop Aid comes in.

Mark Woods is the founder and CEO of Operation Troop Aid.

 Mark Woods is the founder and CEO of Operation Troop Aid (OTA), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that sends care packages to U.S. soldiers deployed to countries like the ones mentioned above, where such staples as toothpaste and other hygiene items can be hard to obtain.

“We send the troops things like trail mix, beef jerky, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, dental floss and more,” Woods said. “And one of the things that goes into an OTA care package is a phone card, helping give our men and women the opportunity to communicate with loved ones back home. That means more than we can realize when they’re out there on the front lines.”

 Woods said that some of the items for the packages are donated, and the organization raises the funds to purchase others and to ship the packages. “What items get donated and what we have to purchase sort of depends on the situation at the time,” he said. “It depends on how many packages we’re doing, what we can get and what we can afford to buy.” He said each package can be a real morale booster and typically contains about $40 worth of products. 

 While anyone can help the OTA, some of Nashville’s biggest stars are supporters of the organization. For instance, Charlie Daniels recently donated a portion of ticket sales from two shows to OTA. Grammy-award winning country singer David Ball is another supporter.

Country star David Ball is one of the celebrity supporters of Operation Troop Aid.

 “I went overseas and played a number of years ago,” Ball said, “and I was just bowled over by the people. I’m a big supporter of our military, and the same way that we appreciate them, they appreciate us and are grateful for anything we can do to help make life a little better. What Mark’s doing is a great thing and I’m proud to be a part of something that is helping our men and women in uniform.”

Ball and his band, the Pioneer Playboys, are donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of their upcoming single, “What’ll I Do If I Don’t Have You,” to OTA. The band is planning a music video for the tune that is expected to include photos and video clips from actual military families. Ball is also appearing as a spokesman for OTA in a new TV commercial.

 OTA is steered by a board of directors primarily made up of prior military personnel and others associated with the service in some fashion, though Woods said that the organization plans to add some music industry representatives to the board later this year. “We’re about getting the job done to help our people,” he said. “We aren’t the biggest organization in the country in terms of what we do, but we’re very effective. I was military myself for 21 years, and I can tell you how much it means to them just to know we’re thinking about them.

A Memphis native, Woods recently moved to Nashville to be closer to the music industry and to continue to run the organization from his home state. He said that for anyone wanting to help the organization, there’s always some type of opportunity available.

 “We’re an all-volunteer organization right now, and we’re growing, getting more people behind us,” said Woods, who added that while he gets much of his personal inspiration from the words of the Bible, religion doesn’t play into it. “We ask for help from everyone, but church groups, youth groups, Girl Scouts, anybody and everybody who wants to help, we ask to come on board. We’re all Americans, and you don’t have to be any particular religion or anything else to be a part of this. I believe in the foundation of this country and what our founding fathers said, and the Bible does inspire me to not give up. If you give up you fail, period.”

For anyone wishing to donate funds to OTA through their employer’s workplace giving campaign, the organization’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) number is 26493. 

 “We need to remember our military men and women are getting shot at,” he said.  “We’re proud to have an organization that’s trying to do something to help, to give them a little better quality of life if we can.” 

For more information, go to www.operationtroopaid.org  or www.troopaid.org.


  1. “What’ll I Do If I Don’t Have You’ is a beautiful song. I love David Ball’s voice and have ever since “Thinkin’ Problem” and “Look What Followed Me Home”

  2. Nicew to see David Ball in the spotlight again. Great singer doing a good thing for our troops. BooYah!

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