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Washington Commanders and USO team up to assemble thousands of Care Packages for troops responding to Ukrainian crisis

Washington alum Doc Walker assembles a pack of hygiene essentials during last week's USO Pack 4 Troops event.
Washington alum Doc Walker assembles a pack of hygiene essentials during last week's USO Pack 4 Troops event.

With the escalating crisis in Ukraine, Washington Commanders Co-owners and Co-CEOs Dan and Tanya Snyder felt inspired to help.

"As we watch the events unfold in Ukraine, it is important to us to continue supporting response efforts in as many ways as possible," said co-CEO Tanya Snyder.

Two weeks ago, the Snyders donated $300,000 to support the USO, DC-based World Central Kitchen, International Rescue Committee and Save the Children. Last week, they helped organize a new way to offer assistance by gathering helping hands -- hundreds of them -- in collaboration with the USO.

On March 10, Dan and Tanya Snyder and nearly 200 Washington Commanders staff, team alumni, sponsors and partners joined active-duty service members and USO representatives to pack more than 4,000 USO Care Packages filled with over 24,000 items that will immediately be sent to troops deploying to Eastern Europe. The event was USO's largest Pack 4 Troops event to-date.

Co-CEO and Co-Owners Tanya and Dan Snyder packing care packages at Washington's Pack 4 Troops event.

"While our thoughts and prayers are truly with the Ukrainian people, today is about doing something more," said Tanya Snyder to the group of volunteers to kick-off the day.

That sentiment was repeated over and over at the event. Much like the "Commanders" name seen on the hats, jackets, scarves and t-shirts of the volunteers, the call to action was a rallying cry and a reminder of the importance of service -- a mission shared by the team and the DMV area it represents, as well as the armed forces.

As the Executive Director of USO National Capital District and wife of Washington's Super Bowl XVII MVP John Riggins, Lisa-Marie Riggins has a unique window into that commitment to service all three of these groups share. On Thursday, Riggins -- a connector of commanders -- further explained to volunteers how the USO Care Packages aid our troops.

"We've had lots of communication with the commanders in Eastern Europe who are at USO satellite stations in Poland, in England, in Romania," Riggins said. "They're telling us that all these soldiers want is some decent food and some warmth."

Executive Director of USO National Capital District addresses the volunteers at the March 10th event.

Washington Commanders beanies and scarves were among the many items volunteers tucked into the packs, along with hygiene essentials such as combs and toothbrushes and favorite snacks such as Rice Krispies Treats, Oreos and Goldfish. Sgt. David Tatterson knows these treats -- little bites of home – will be an appreciated gift for soldiers.

"I would always stuff Slim Jims and Cheez-Its I'd get in my pocket," Sgt. Tatterson said with a smile.

During his time in Iraq in 2019, Tatterson always looked forward to receiving USO2GO care packages. Watching the volunteers gather to put together these packs hits Tatterson in a different way as someone who knows what it means to open one amidst all the emotions of a deployment.

"It really means a lot that people do care and that people are thinking of us," he said.

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