Columbia, Mo.--The United States Exercise Tiger Foundation (USTF), the Missouri based Non Governmental Organization (NGO) will officially mark a milestone on Sunday October 11 when 88,500 masks will be distributed to Missouri Vets & families. The USTF will present 25,000 masks to several Kansas City Veterans Organizations this Sunday at 3PM in the parking lot located on the corner of 18th and Vine in the Historic Jazz District. The National Association of Black Veterans or NABVETS will receive 10,000 masks for their members. Their governmental office is located in the Lincoln Building at 18th and Vine, where the Black Economic Union office is located. The Black Economic Union is a longtime supporter of the NABVETS, as their Kansas City office has been housed in that building for more than 15 years.
District 5 of The American Legion which covers Jackson County will receive 5,000 masks, and another 10,000 masks will be provided to Kimberly M. Randolph, former Aide to Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner, who volunteers with various Veterans Organizations in addition to her role as Senior Administrator for Airport Operations at KCI.
The “Mask A Vet” Campaign began on August 26, 2020 with the delivery from Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Stockpiles with a mask delivery to the USTF’s offices. In the seven weeks since, the USTF launched the statewide campaign to get every Veteran and their family members “masked” in order to help prevent Covid 19 infection.
The masks are five (5) to a pack, sealed by the US Public Health Service, and can be reused with washing as they are a cotton blend. They are FREE to ALL Veterans. A brief Medals ceremony will take place prior to the distribution of the 25,000 masks to the various organizations. Members of NABVETS and other veterans will receive special medals for their service in uniform. NABVETS, and the American Legion will also receive Distinguished Unit Awards. Several other awards will be presented to community leaders as well.
The “Mask A Vet” Campaign is a joint partnership with the USTF and the Missouri Government to make sure Missouri Veterans receive masks. The USTF is the lead NGO to distribute the masks statewide. USTF reports that this is the largest humanitarian mission in its the history. To date, 63,000 masks have been distributed via the VFW, American Legion, VA, Vet Center and through walk-up or drive-throughs in Boone, Callaway, Taney & Randolph Counties. This will be the first delivery to Kansas City and Jackson County. Other deliveries will take place in the coming weeks as well.
”It’s a ‘hub & spoke’ operation, the hub being Columbia and our SUV and Kingdom Pilots Association, pilots driving or flying the masks to the four corners of Missouri and everywhere in between.” said Susan Haines, the USTF National Director.
The project also carries the words “Task Force Tiger” on the boxes as an honor to the 206 Missouri soldiers killed on April 28, 1944 in Exercise Tiger, a pre D-Day training mission that was attacked by German Navy warships. Three (3) LST’s of US Navy Task Force T4, radio call sign Taffy 4, were sunk or crippled and over 749 sailors and soldiers were killed, eight of which were black sailors.
“We are named for the forgotten battle before D-Day. The USTF is known for being a Veterans & Military Honors Foundation, now we are a lifesaving foundation as well,” said Haines. (For more info go to www.exercisetiger.org or www.ustf.us) Additionally, Haines stated, “The ‘Mask A Vet’ State Campaign is one of the few of its type in the entire nation. The delivery on Sunday will be the largest state and national mask delivery and distribution to Black Veterans and their family members across the nation. Our research has shown that Black Veterans are underserved with masks and the USTF is pledged to make sure that no Black Veteran is overlooked during this pandemic in Missouri.” Veterans and anyone wishing to help or get masks can call the USTF at 573-456-0529 or by email at the newly created firstname.lastname@example.org which is exclusively for masks and mask questions and mask delivery.
Haines added, “We will leave NO Vet Behind.” ...”Missouri Vets are our most prized possession, these masks will help prevent Covid 19 from infecting them.”