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Jerry Costello

Operation Homefront Serves Veterans

                I keep reading that it’s a new era for country music, and as a regular visitor to Oklahoma I figure that I’m ahead of the game. One of those breaking new ground is Tim McGraw, a country singer who boasts of the kind of attraction that appeals to everyone. (New York Met baseball fans know him as the son of the late and legendary Mets’ reliever, Tug McGraw, but to those who enjoy country music, he’s always been a star in his own right.)

                Tim McGraw is becoming known for something else, too. He’s a great supporter of U.S. veterans, and he looks for chances to put that support to work all the time. To that end he’s partnered with Operation Homefront, which takes empty homes and donates them—mortgage-free and no strings attached—to deserving veterans. Alison Abbey wrote about McGraw and Operation Homefront in a recent issue of Parade magazine, and she made it plain that the singer puts Christopher principles—which stress the positive impact of helping someone else—to use every day.

                “I’ve got tons of friends who are veterans,” he says. “When Operation Homefront came to me with this program that marries homes with deserving veterans, it’s just the best program I can be involved in.

                “These guys spend so much of their lives dedicated to providing security for us. Their families have sacrificed everything, and they find themselves trying to find that same security. In a lot of cases they don’t have a home of their own. They’re moving from place to place. If I can be involved in changing that, I’m glad to do it.”

                Tim McGraw comes by his interest in veterans—and, in a larger sense, his love of the land we share—quite naturally. Giving back is in his DNA.

                “I think that’s sort of the environment our music was born in—struggle and strife, helping each other out when times are hard,” he says. “A lot of us were raised in those circumstances and in those neighborhoods and family situations.”

                McGraw, 48, is married to fellow performer Faith Hill, and the couple has three teen-age daughters. Family plays a big part in his life and, he says, keeps him grounded.

                “You can give up your soul and your life to work if you don’t have something to balance it,” he explains. “My family is certainly way on the other side of the scale balancing out my life.”

                McGraw’s heart is close not only to his work and his family; it’s close to our veterans as well. He’s already presented keys to 36 homes for veterans and their families through Operation Homefront, and he knows that a lot more are lined up. It’s about providing homes for their future, true, but it’s also about providing a measure of stability too. And there are other essentials—home repairs, food, school supplies, baby products. They’re all part of the package.

                “The veterans are so thankful,” McGraw says. “They have a service heart to start with; it’s just the kind of people they are. 

                “My reaction is always, ‘You don’t have to thank me or anybody for this. You deserve it.’ “

               

               

For a free copy of the Christopher News Note GRATITUDE, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail:mail@christophers.org