501 (c)(3) nonprofit charity, Operation: Cigars for Warriors has been sending premium cigars and accessories and other items, such as coffee and magazines, to U.S. service members deployed overseas in combat zones and those serving long-term deployments and floats in other areas worldwide since 2012. The all-volunteer organization depends exclusively on donated items to send to the deployed service members who request them.
Operation: Cigars for Warriors was founded in 2012 when two former servicemen—Storm Boen and Ben Edmundson, a U.S. Navy veteran who served on submarines in the 1970s—
discussed how much cigars meant to them while they were deployed. The two men gathered a half-dozen others and volunteered to help an already established charity that sent cigars to troops, but, after about three months, they were unsatisfied with that charity’s ethics. Discouraged, they might have walked away from their efforts to provide comfort for troops, but one of those other volunteers, Alaine DiBenedetto, remarked that the cause was too beautiful to let die. Boen, who serves as the organization’s chairman, agreed and set out to establish Operation: Cigars for Warriors.
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