GE Aviation has powered a host of iconic military aircraft and watercraft, both past and present. Maybe you’ve heard of the U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane powered by GE’s F118 engines or the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter powered by our F404 engines. How about the CF6-powered Air Force One? Most recently, GE Aviation was selected to re-engine the U.S. Army’s Apache and Black Hawk helicopters with the all-new T901 turboshaft engine.

These impressive technologies support U.S. service members in obvious ways, but this May and June gave GE employees and other community members an opportunity to support in another way: troop care packages.

This year marked GE Aviation’s 12th Annual Troop Care Package Drive. GE Aviation employees and community members were encouraged to donate snacks, toiletries, entertainment, and write thank-you notes for active-duty service members. This monumental effort hits close to home for GE Aviation employees—around 60 GE Aviation employees are currently on active duty orders as members of the Guard and Reserves.

It was the largest donation in the drive’s history, with 21,644 pounds of donations pouring in from employees at GE Aviation and other GE businesses nationwide, as well as from many local vendors. In total 351 GE and First Financial Bank volunteers donated thousands of hours collectively at GE Aviation’s Customer Training Education Center (CTEC) to sort, package, and prepare 3,549 care packages for shipping abroad. Soldiers across the world in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Japan, Germany, and those based on naval ships in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea will receive care packages in time to celebrate the Fourth of July. Compared to 2018, this year’s drive saw a 40 percent increase in total donations.

For GE Aviation Senior Vice President, COO & CFO, Shane Wright, this care package drive holds a special significance. He’s the executive sponsor for GE Aviation’s Veteran’s Network, which leads efforts to recruit, retain, and develop military veterans into business leaders at GE Aviation.

“These troop care packages mean a lot to our men and women who are deployed” he said. “These packages help provide a meaningful way for them to remember that there are folks back here in the States who care … and support what they’re doing protecting our country.”