Proud to be from Pittsburgh: OTA Welcome Home

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PITTSBURGH - Toothbrushes and other everyday items are going a long way in West Mifflin.
 
Channel 11 recently visited Operation Troop Appreciation.
 
They have been Pittsburgh’s helping hand for the past 10 years, sending care packages to U.S. servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
“It's a Steeler nation. We're making it an OTA nation,” OTA president Monica Orluk said. “I think the most generous people in the country live right here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.”
 
But after 136,000 troops served, the organization needs Pittsburgh’s help even more.
 
Orluk took Channel 11 behind the scenes of their new program Welcome Home.
 
It’s helping local veterans start homes and apartments when they return from war.
 
“We've got things like sheets and dish towels,” she said. “We're trying to fill our shelves with dishes and glasses and pots and pans.”
 
The items are donated brand new and in just two months, Welcome Home has helped 76 veterans and their families settle into their new places.
 
Orluk explained, “I think there's an assumption the government provides everything they need and that's just not the case.”
 
Golf clubs that were sent to troops to have a little bit of fun are now staying here at home to help vets with their physical rehab.
 
For Orluk, OTA’s 10 years of hard work came full circle just a few years ago.
 
She was sitting on a plane next to a Marine and he realized OTA sent his entire unit knives back in 2007.
 
“He said, ‘you saved my life,’” she recalled.” He came under fire, crawled up and got underneath that broken down truck, repaired the hydrolic line and got them back to base...
          
To learn more about the “Welcome Home” program or to donate, CLICK HERE.