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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Operation Photo - News

PLEASE NOTE: All information regarding Operation Photo (founded by 30 Minute Photos Etc. [] is for historical purposes only. Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting cameras for this program. You can directly contact

General Information about Operation Photo
Operation Homefront News
Reactions To Operation Photo

PLEASE NOTE: All information regarding Operation Photo is for historical purposes only. Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting cameras for this program.You can directly contact
Sample Emails sent to Operation Photo From Across the U.S.

Hello I think this is an"AWESOME" program - I am not asking for consideration for a camera for my family but I am a Family Readiness Leader and there is one family that could really use this Program they have their first baby due very soon and they have no camera and they have no money to buy one she has been asking around if ANYONE could Please go to the Hospital take a Pic of their first born so she can send her hubby a pic Our unit has been deployed since early Dec - being seperated for the holidays is not an easy thing but the spouses and family members have stuck together through it Just since they left we have had 5 or 6 spouse deliver babies and some how we have managed to get at least one picture and get it to Dad but it is not just about the new babies there are children that are having a hard time - This is the second rotation for a large number of these soldiers They got back the last time in June of 2003 and now they are gone again - We are working very hard to try and make this mission a little bit easier but working with volunteers it is sometimes difficult for whom ever has a camera to get to the events and meetings and then take the pictures and then get them processed and sent - This can be a very time consuming thing especially when you have to find someone with a camera, try and arrange a time schedule when they can be there to take a picture and one thing after the other - But we can do it we WILL do it - We will Stay Strong for that’s the only way our Eagle Medics can provide the medical care they are there for - If you would consider placing one of your cameras with our Family and Single Soldier Readiness Group I can and will guarantee you that it will get a lot of USE !! and it will give the Soldiers a glimpse of Home and a feeling of togetherness until now unknown to the hospitals in the Sand!Thank You for your time and consideration, Respectfully yours, Della "Mamma G" Gilbert, F.S.S.R.G. Leader, 86th Combat Support Hospital, Ft. Campbell, KY
Hello my husband is deployed and in the US Army. We have 2 boys Taylor, 11 yrs old, and Quinton, 13 months. Jason has missed so much of the first year of Quinton's life. It has really been hard on him. We were very lucky that he got to come home for Quinton's 1st birthday. It only took a few minutes for Quinton to warm up to his daddy. Jason depends on pictures and our web cam to keep him in touch with us. I got a used video camera for my birthday this past year so that we could make home movies to send to Jason. I didn't want him to miss anything. My husband should be home in a few months but there is a big chance he will be leaving again soon, too soon! I wanted to thank you for doing this for our military and for giving me and my family an opportunity to stay even closer. thank you, Charis Shockley, Lawton, OK 73505
Hi my name is Jessica Kaminski and my husband is in the Army serving in Kuwait/Iraq for 6-18 months! How would we be able to be on the list to receive a donated camera? We have a 18 month old son who has completely changed from the time his daddy left him! I know he and our son would love to be able to communicate more with each other! Thank you very much for considering us for the Valentine's day camera donations! Jessica Kaminski
Hi there my name is Marlayne Larsen. My husband Jason is currently in Iraq. I would like to be considered for your donated cameras. I am a stay at home mom so there for with the income he makes we cannot afford a digital camera. We have a 13 month old daughter who was born premature. My husband left when she was just 7 months. So at that point (do to being a preemie) she wasn't crawling or walking or rolling over or even sitting up. Of course she is doing all of this now but he has missed out on so much. He will be home in a few more months. God Bless you for what you are doing. And thank you in advance for your consideration. Once again Thank you Molly Larsen -
Mitch, The next time you go on national TV make sure you put a plug in for the Defense Department's "America Support You " website to tell about all the wonderful things people around the country are doing to support the troops. Doug Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample American Forces Press Service, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Alexandria, Va. 22314
Mr. Mitch Goldstone, Thank you for being considerate enough to think of those in need while their spouses are overseas fighting for our country. I am a wife with two toddlers that is waiting for her spouse to come back home. In the mean time I have been admiring digital cameras because I know that it is the least expensive way for my husband to see his family (e-mailing pics to him rather developing). I would like to be considered for one of these cameras if I may. This is my husbands 3rd tour, in 2001 he was in Cosovo, in 2003, Iraq and Iraq again in 2005. I look forward to hearing from someone in your office either way it goes. In the mean time here is a note for your big heart.... Give and it will come back to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give unto your bosom. God Bless and keep you and yours.... Respectfully Tsachai Maduro, Fort Stewart, Georgia
I upgraded to a Kodak a few months ago and haven't yet had the time or inclination to put my old Canon PowerShot 20 on e-bay. I'll be happy to send it with all its accessories and tons of photo cards. I see the address on your website, and presume I just ship it to that address and you will provide a receipt? I'll get the camera ready for shipping. If you need to send any documents to me ahead of my shipment, please advise asap. Thanks, Donna P.S. I don't remember where I saw the ad for this project, but I believe it was AOL.
Hi-My name is Stephanie McDonough, I'm from a small town in upper Michigan, I've recently been informed of your offer and I think it's great. I am co-editor of our FRG newsletter, my husband along with others from his unit have recently been displayed to Iraq. I would be interested in getting more information on this offer and I can relay it to other families in our area, Thanks for supporting our troops! Stephanie McDonough
Hello, I just heard about Operation Photo on the Fox News Channel and I have a Sony Mavica Digital Camera with accessories that I would like to donate. Can I drop the camera off in person? I am local to Irvine . . . Keep up the good work! Anthony Messina
Hi. I am writing to request a digital camera from your operation. My husband is now gone for a second time to Iraq. we have 3 beautiful daughters ages 3, 4 and 11. He has such a hard time missing them grow up. I would love to be able to send him pictures this time so he can see for himself how big they are growing and not miss another year of their lives. I would mail him pictures last time he was there, but about half of them he received after he was already home. I have been putting money away for a computer and what a wonderful gift it would be for him, me, and our children to be able to send him photos. Please consider us. sincerely, Dana Carlson Wife of Michigan national guard member Clinton Carlson
Hello! I was watching FOX news this morning and I saw you on the show and was so touched! Organizations that do donations to military families really are a morale booster and let's us know that not everyone is unhappy with the military and that the sacrifices our spouses made are appreciated! My husband is a Marine and we are in Yuma, AZ. He left December 5th and spent Christmas in the middle of the ocean. We took pictures with a disposable camera and have sent him that disk but it would have been so nice to email him pictures right away. We have four children and my husband spent the fall before he left helping to coach our son's Pop Warner Mitey Mite football team. Noah probably misses his daddy the most because of all that time spent together and it would be so wonderful for him to communicate with pictures. If you would consider us for your program, we would be very appreciative! Also, I am a key volunteer spouse for my husband's unit back here at home and while it is illegal for me to solicit you for donations to our other wives, I will pass your info on to all of them and to our CO. Thanks again for supporting our troops!! Sallie Anderson Yuma, AZ
Hello! My name is Jessica Weller and I am the wife of A1C Joseph S. Weller. My husband is deployed to Iraq from New Year's day until the middle of May. His deployment is temporary, so he will be able to come home after the four months. When I read that you were offering digital cameras for military families, I was truly touched. My husband and I do not have any children, however we do have a large family at home in Illinois. I want you to know that I do not want a camera if there are more families that do have children. I thought I would e-mail to get a camera because it is a great opportunity. I think that not enough people in the states realize that so many military families spend hundreds of dollars on phone cards, shipping boxes, and purchasing digital or video cameras to keep in touch. Bless you for your support. Women like myself appreciate the men and women who take the time to thank our husbands with acts such as your God bless,Jessica Weller Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, NV

Hello my husband is deployed with the 233rd transportation company out of ft.knox Kentucky for the second time in a year and a half. I would love to be considered for one of you cameras so I could send him digital photos via email and keep him up to date with what’s going on with our two children who are now 5 and 8. Thank-you for supporting the armed forces, and military families. Angel Migliore

I would love to be considered for the donated camera program. My husband is a US Marine stationed at MCAS Miramar, San Diego. His unit is to Deploy for their third tour to Iraq in February '05. We have three children, and would love to be able to keep my husband up to date with pictures! Please let me know what to do. Thank You! Jennifer Adame San Lorenzo, CA 94580

Dear Operation Home Front, My husband and I had been expressing our desire for a digital camera so we could send pixs of family life and our dogs and keep him entertained. My father notified me of what your organization is doing. My husband is getting ready to deploy to Iraq very soon, although the date is unknown. We would love to be considered to receive a digital camera, especially with my husband going overseas for 14 months. Thank-you for organizing this as I'm sure military families all over will greatly appreciate the support. Joe & Charis Ostrowski Jacksonville, NC 28540

My husband is a deployed Marine with 1/1 out of Camp Pendleton. I heard about your program through I would love to be considered for your program. My husband and I have a 5 month old son who is growing with every blink. I know it's really hard on James, my husband, to miss most of the first year of his son's life. We rely on the pictures that family and friends take so that he can see Jimi and how he's grown. In any case, I think this is a great program and it will help a lot of families ease the pain of deployments by seeing the faces of our so loved ones. Thank you. Madeline Letchford

Greetings, This is a Wonderful idea! My son in law is being deported Jan 30th, how can my daughter get a digital camera so she can send pictures of her 2 children? Thanks so much, Deb Walter

Hello. My husband is in Iraq with his national guard unit. We have purchased him a digital camera but have not been able to afford to purchase one for home. I was interested in your program, having a camera for home would be wonderful for us. We have a 7 year old that dad is missing and this would be a quick way to download the pics to him via the net. Please let me know how I sign up for one. Thanks, Angie EoffMorrilton, Arkansas

Hi, My fiancé is on his second tour of Iraq and he is missing home worse this time around. He has said one thing that keeps him going is tons of pictures of us back home . We have a pretty good size family of 6 kids and this would be a great way to give him those pictures he wants . I would like to be considered for your program . Thank you for your time to make programs like these that help our deployed soldiers. I know they get a lot of joy from seeing pictures from home . ............... Thanks Jesica Spring Lake , NC My fiancé is currently in Mosul, Iraq

My son deployed to Iraq for the second time in December, 2004, just two weeks prior to his son being born. My daughter-in-law had the baby C-section and I had to fill in for my son. It was truly heartbreaking for him to miss his first child’s birth. He is currently in Iraq and she would love to send him photos of the baby each day. He has already missed so much. She does not have a digital camera to do this. Could you please consider sending her a camera? She is staying with us until Feb. 14 at which time she will be back home at Ft. Bragg. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity and this exceptional gift to military families. Lynne Stamm, Wickliffe, OH

I happened upon Operation Photo by chance. When my husband had asked me to get him a digital camera for this deployment, I did a Google search using "Military Digital Camera" just to see if I could find anything. I know that there are often deals on such items for soldiers or special projects such as yours and I wanted to research that avenue first. Much to my delight, I got some great information - the first four results referenced your project. I will put a link to the Operation Photo web site on our Family Readiness Group's site and inform our local talk radio station. They are pro-military and are always willing to promote anything supporting the troops. Thank you for what you're doing - it's encouraging to the troops and to the families to see the public making so many efforts to show appreciation and to support our military. Thank you, Emily

Hi thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts for having this program. We have 3 children, 2girls 10&11, and a boy 2 1⁄2 yrs. We are requesting to be considered for this program. My husband went to Kuwait last January, then came back a few months later. Then he left again August 23, 2004 for Iraq and has missed so much already. Thank you for possibly considering us for your program. Cathy Erickson, San Clemente, CA

Hello, My name is Ambra Cummings. I just read about the cameras you are trying to get and donate to military families. I have four loved ones serving right now, one is in Iraq as I speak, and the rest of them have been deployed for a 20 month deployment to Iraq. I think it's a great idea that you are doing this, and it is something that we've all talked about because of everything they will be missing while they are gone, and it makes it easier on all of us. They are in Mississippi right now, and soon will be leaving there to go to CA for training, then they will be leaving to go to Kuwait, and finally Iraq.Ambra Cummings, Montgomery, PA

I have a question about donating a used digital camera. We have an hp photosmart 315xi (around 18 months old) it works great, we have 3 memory cards, cables, books and original box, but there is one problem with it, a small little area covering the pin holding the battery flap down is fell off, it only causes a problem when replacing the batteries because the you are not careful, you could lose the pin (the flap still clicks in when closed). I can send a picture if you have any questions. I just didn't want to send the camera if you couldn't use it. I hope you can, my husband is in the Navy and though not currently deployed, several of our good friends are. It’s a great thing you are doing. Please let me know when you can. Thank you.Jessica S. Plaspohl

Dear Mr. Mitch Goldstone, As a matter of doing research for the Website, where I am a Senior member and Moderator I found an article on OPERATION PHOTO. I was wondering what I can do to help you out? I am a Digital Imaging Specialist for Eastman Kodak and the Former Lab Manager for Print@Kodak. I am also a Retired USAF First Sergeant with 6 years Active Duty Time and another 18 years of service in the New York Air National Guard. I do have a small cache of Digital Cameras, probably 2-3 that I might be able to part with for OPERATION PHOTO. I need to see what I need to keep. But I have a couple of 2 megapixel, and maybe one or two 3 megapixel cameras. How can I help you and Operation Photo? Chris Schmidt. Rochester, NY

My name is Melissa Barr. My husband is a Sergeant in the Marine Corp. He will be deploying to Iraq in mid February. I think operation photo is an excellent program. We are currently stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. I will be returning to Pittsburgh PA to be with family while he is deployed. We have a two year old daughter together and he had already missed her birth and 1st birthday due to being deployed. He had already been in Kuwait last year for some time when the war started. He was also sent to Haiti in March of last year. I would like to be considered for operation photo. It will mean a lot to my husband and our family if we were able to send pictures during our time of separation. . Thank you for your time.

I wanted to touch base with you- I will let you know that I have a bad flu at the moment, so my emails are answered somewhat more slowly than normal. I love this program and will help you get the word out. We are a Google news provider so I can forward your press release through our news service as well as include it in our E-Zine. Would like to also offer you a "forum" on our Community Connections page so that you can post updates and have military families post their experience with the program as well. I just need your "user name" from registration with our site in order to assign the forum. Look forward to hearing more about the program. Please accept my thanks as a military spouse personally for stepping up. Caroline, President, The Military Family Network

Hello people at 30 Minute Photos Etc., I had e-mailed you a couple days ago from a friends e-mail address and don't know if it went through so I am e-mailing you from my e-mail address. My name is COrtney Plutchak my husband is a LCPL in the USMC. His name is WIlliam Plutchak. We just had our first child August 11th, 2004. I was reading about the you guys getting cameras donated for military families on the operation home front page. I was wondering who qualified to get a camera, who do you decide who gets one. This will be my husband third time going back to Iraq. He went the first time from January 2003-July 2003, Then he went again March 2004-june-2004, and now he leaves again either in February or March. I would love for him to be able to see his son grow. I know it is going to be hard on him to leave his son and miss him walking and talking and what not and I think it would be nice if he could see that. . Thanks you so much for your time. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Happy New Year and God Bless. Sincerely Yours, Cortney Plutchak

Hi, I'm the wife of a soldier deployed to Iraq. I heard about your program for cameras for families and I would like to know how we would qualify. My husband has been in Iraq since September. I am not stationed at the military base, or in any of the areas where operation home front is. Thank You Breanna Kresge

Hi, I was just reading an article about digital cameras being donated. My husband is currently serving in Iraq, I was wondering how he might be able to get one? We borrowed one at Christmas so I could take pictures of our children opening their presents, it would be wonderful if he could get one so he could send photos home to the girls. Thank you. Kim Broesch

belong to the BioCommunications Association and received this message through our listserve ( It was received by a member from another list he belongs to. Thank you for the information. Please tell me what I need to do to donate my old camera to the group that is sending them to Iraq S. Bates

Hello. My name is Margaret Smith and I would love to be considered for one of your digital cameras. My husband, Adam, is a Specialist (E-4) in the U.S. Army. He was just recently deployed to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom 3, for 12 - 18 months. He is the Chaplain's Assistant with the 3rd Infantry Division, 2nd Brigade, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment. Adam and I have been married for 2 1/2 years and are now expecting our first child. I would love to be able to send pictures to him of our baby's progress, especially if he isn't able to come home for the birth. That is still not certain. Adam will miss the first few months of life of our little baby, and may be gone up to 6 months after he/she is born. Thank you for the work you are doing to support our troops. I'm sure you will choose the most deserving families. We all appreciate your efforts!Sincerely, Margaret Smith

My husband is deployed and I would love to have a digital camera. My brother and mother just passed away within 44 days of each other. Pictures are all we have left. Thanks for helping all the military families. Tona Rimmer. Fort Stewart, GA

Hello, I was wanting to get some information on the digital camaras being donated to military families. My husband deployed January 17,2005 and we have a 2yr old little girl, he had asked that I send pictures of her to him as much as possible but it is a little costly to send packages all the time. He will be gone for approximately 18 months and he will be missing alot of "growing up" and I would like for him to be able to at least see her in pictures. Please let me know what I need to do to see about possiblly receiving one of the donated cameras. Thank you in advance, Helen M. Stricklin

I love it! How cool to find a company that is willing to help turn troops and families on to fun with donated cameras! You are so smart! I\'m top of the \"sales\" heap at companies I\'ve worked for in industry I\'m in and forever I look for ways to contribute to better human condition is some manner or another. My market is in your neck of the woods, Orange County, Newport Beach/Costa Mesa. I have just one more thing to say to the the person with this brilliant idea... hip hip hoorah! Have a terrific week!

I probably have a couple of digital cameras to donate. I just have to find them. How do I go about donating them? Thank you, Rochelle Rotter

Hi, My name is Sharee Allen and my husband has just been deployed to Iraq. We have a new son who was 2 months old when he left and a son who is almost 3. We would both be extremely grateful if we were considered for a camera, that he will not miss any of the priceless moments of our everyday. Thank you for your consideration, Sharee Allen

Hi Mitch, I have posted your press release here: Thanks, Mark Goldstein Editor, PhotographyBLOG

Mitch - Thanks for the submission! I was pleased to post this news item on 12/29 at 8:05 AM. We were in fact the first digital camera news site to publish this item. I hope Operation Photo goes well -- what a great idea to help overseas servicemen & women!If you ever have any other news, please let us know soonest. Thanks! Matt GordonPublisher,

Hello i am a military spouse and my husband is currently deployed to iraq and a friend of mine sent me this e-mail, i think it is a great program and i was wondering how i may be able to be considered for a camera. My husband and i have three children 5, 3, and 1. he has misssed out on most of their life because of deployments and this time i have been taking the pictures and having them put on disc so he may have them but by the time i can get them to the store and they get back to me is just rediculous. it takes 2-3 weeks before i can even send him pictures it's like i am always behind i end up haveing to show him most of the pictures when he gets back.. having a digital camera would remove the wait and i know it would make it much easier for him to be over there. if there is information i need to send or andything i need to do to be considered please let me know. Thanks! Rebekah Poracky

Dear Sir, We are interested on Operation Photo for the America Supports You web site. Please provide a phone number and point of contact for a short interview. Sincerely, Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, American Forces Press Service, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs,

Mitch, It was very nice speaking with you yesterday! What a benefit this project will be for our military families. Communication is the #1 priority for our military families and the addition of digital cameras to the Operation Homefront Communications Program is a blessing to these families that cannot be put into words. As promised, I have attached the camera donor spreadsheet for you to use as a log as the cameras come in. All Operation Homefront Chapters nationwide will be participating in this project and I have forwarded the Operation Homefront press release and 30 Minute Photo mailing address to all of them. See below for the instructions I sent out to all chapters regarding national distribution. I think I covered everything, but if you see anything missing please let me know. Best regards, Sandra Aldridge, Operation Homefront, Director of West Coast Operations

My name is Nicole Winberg and I am part of the Family Readiness Group in Montague, MI. At the end of October 2004 the 1436th Engineering Company was deployed to Fort Dix, NJ and then on New Years Eve they were shipped over to Kuwait. The father of my seven month old was one of them shipped out. There are many families in our group with young children and we are trying to find ways to keep in contact with our soldiers. As part of the Family Readiness Group I was wondering how we could get more information regarding "Operation Photo If at all possible could you send me any information that would be helpful to us? Thank you and have a great day!

Hello! I was writing in hopes of being considered for your program. My husband returned home last April from his 1year tour in Iraq with 4th ID. He was home just 9 months when he had to leave last month to return to Iraq with the 3rd ID. We received orders to move 2 months after he returned from Iraq the first time. We have a 2year old son and he has a daughter who lives in South Carolina. We would so very much love and cherish a digital camera. Right now I am using disposable cameras and it has gotten really expensive for me to get the pictures printed and put on disk so I can email them to my husband. He's only been home for 14 months of our 2 year old's life, and I would we both would love to have a digital camera, we just haven't been able to afford one. Please, Please, consider us! Thanks so much for your support of the military and all that you are doing!

To Whom It May Concern, My name is Mrs. Wilkins I am the spouse of a deployed solider. My husband SSG Wilkins of 5-7 CAV in Ft. Stewart He left on the 12 of Jan. for Iraq. I'm guessing he is doing fine. I have been wanting to send him pictures but can't at this time afford film because of current household bills. Well I was told to buy a digital camera it was easier. Yet and still I am not able to buy one. I checked the prices on digital cameras and they are truly expensive.I was so upset that my husband wasn't here for our son's 4th birthday and I had no camera to take the pictures to share with him. I would love to send my husband some pictures of me and our 4 year old son. I know he would be happy to see our smiling faces. Thank You for your time and willingness to listen Sincerely, Mrs. Wilkins

Hello, my name is Ellie Myron and my husband is deployed with 233rd Transportation, Fort Knox, KY. I just want to say THANK YOU!!!!!!! It's a great idea to support military families in this way!!!! We are lucky to have a digital camera and my husband/ my daughters Daddy can see how much she has grown.... at least on pictures... I keep my fingers crossed that you get the 10,000 cams together!!!!!!! Thank you!!!! Elli e Myron

Sample Emails Recieved by Operation Photo from Across US
City of Irvine TV Broadcased Presentation
Streaming Video from Fox News Broadcast
Streaming Video from KOCE's Real Orange
Operation Photo extended through July 4
Lifting Spirits One Photo at a Time

By Blake Frino - OC METRO
Mitch Goldstone is an idea a minute kind-of-guy. Every few months the co-owner of an Irvine-based photo processing business rolls out another marketing initiative that makes headlines.
Operation Photo may be Goldstone’s best brainstorm yet.
In recent weeks, Goldstone and his partner Carl Berman have donated several thousand digital cameras they have collected to military families through Operation Homefront, a nonprofit group dedicated to helping relatives of serviceman deployed around the world, especially Iraq. The camera project is designed to help families stay visually connected with their loved ones overseas. Goldstone said the idea originally came from wedding photographer Jennifer Petersen. “I simply put the strength of our company and our contacts behind the effort,” Goldstone said.
In late December, Goldstone took the idea to Santa Ana-based Operation Homefront. It took off immediately.
“Separation and lack of communication is the No. 1 issue affecting military families,” says Ernie Leidiger, executive director of Operation Homefront. The group also distributes phone cards to military families.
So far, Operation Photo has donated more than 2,500 cameras worth $110,000. With photo companies such as Eastman Kodak, Olympus America and Konica Minolta donating cameras, families can send pictures to each other. To contribute or find out more about the program, go to
“What is most gratifying is to receive the e-mails from families who have benefited from this effort,” says Goldstone, who is running the operation from his store, 30 Minute Photos Etc. in Irvine. “Orange County has again proven itself a leader when it comes to giving.” OCM

Capturing the moment - Operation Photo is collecting digital cameras for military families to take photos of loved ones.

Capturing the moment Operation Photo is collecting digital cameras for military families to take photos of loved ones.
By NANCY LUNA and JENN STEWART The Orange County Register
PLEASE NOTE: All information regarding Operation Photo is for historical purposes only. Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting cameras for this program.You can directly contact
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
The e-mails have been rolling in to Mitch Goldstone for weeks since he launched a program to collect used digital cameras to donate to military families.
Among the most heartbreaking was one from Madeline Letchford. The wife of a deployed Camp Pendelton Marine said she was sad that she'd have to spend her first anniversary - Valentine's Day - without her husband.The Marine, was also missing out on "every blink" of their newborn son's growth, she wrote to Goldstone. Not anymore.
Two weeks ago, Operation Photo handed Letchford a digital camera that she has used to snap nearly 100 photos of 6-month old Jimi smiling, crying and sleeping. She e-mails them to her husband, and posts them on Goldstone's Irvine-based Web site, a service he offers for free.
"It just means so much to share the silly things that moms and dads get to see," the Oceanside resident said.
Over the past two months, Goldstone has collected more than 2,500 used digital cameras after asking clients of his 30 Minute Photos shop and online photo-services business to donate digital cameras to military families. Operation Homefront, a Santa Ana nonprofit group that helps military families, is working with Goldstone to distribute the cameras across the country.
Letchford and Veronica Kingsbury, whose husband has been deployed to Kosovo since October, were among the first recipients of the cameras. While Letchford kept her camera, Kingsbury – who got hers Monday - plans to mail her camera to her husband, who she hasn't seen in nearly five months." His orders are to take pictures of all the troops so we can send them to the families," Kingsbury said.
Others, like Cortney Plutchak, anxiously await camera delivery. Plutchak's husband, a Marine based in Camp Pendleton, left early this morning for his third deployment to Iraq.
Like the Letchfords, this Oceanside couple just had a baby, and Plutchak, 21, is "bummed out" that her husband will miss Zachary's first crawl, steps and words while he's gone for six months.
The young couple live off William's modest military salary and can't afford a digital camera, said Plutchak, who spent most of her tax refund - $400 - fixing her car's brakes on Monday.
" I would love for him to be able to see his son grow," Plutchak said.Operation Photo was conceived by freelance photographer
Jennifer Petersen of Ladera Ranch. She came up with the idea of gathering old digital cameras shortly after Christmas, and turned to Goldstone - an Irvine mover and shaker with a reputation for "making things happen" – for help.Goldstone jumped at the idea, and within two weeks he had sent thousands of e-mails to clients, soliciting donations. So far, he's received 2,500 cameras, and he hopes to get 7,500 more.
" We are overwhelmed," Goldstone said.
Initially, the idea was to get cameras in time for Valentine's Day, so sweethearts could deliver "digital kisses" for the holiday. However, after seeing the demand, he decided to extend the deadline for receiving cameras until July 4.
Operation Homefront estimates that at any given time roughly 165,000 spouses and 475,000 children areleft behind while troops are deployed.As cameras come in, Goldstone checks to make sure they work before sending them to Operation Homefront for distribution.
Eastman Kodak, Konica Minolta and Olympus America have sent him new cameras.
However, most of donations have come from individuals who left personal messages with them, such as this one: "Enjoy the camera. I'm from a Navy family, so send lots of pictures to your loved ones."

Operation Photo: Keeping Military Families in Touch

Operation Photo: Keeping Military Families in Touch
By Ron Eggers
PLEASE NOTE: All information regarding Operation Photo is for historical purposes only. Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting cameras for this program. You can directly contact
February 15, 2005 — It's always difficult when families are separated. It's even more difficult, and more anxiety laden, when the separation is due to war. With e-mails and the Internet, communications between the men and women on the front lines and the loved ones left behind have gotten a lot better, but staying in touch can still be a challenge.
Through the months and months of separation, babies are born, celebrations come and go, families move and things change. With so many changes, sometimes the best way to communicate is through pictures.
Operation Photo was established to make it easier for military families to take and share photos. Launched by Mitch Goldstone, owner of 30 Minute Photo, in Irvine, California, Operation Photo is collecting new and used digital cameras that are being donated to military families and support groups.
"The response has been great," Goldstone said. "I can't believe how well people have responded. We've gotten so many donations," adding, "look at all these cameras, we didn't have room to put everything out." More than $110,000 worth of camera has already been donated, even though the program is officially only a few weeks old.
There were tables full of new cameras donated by Eastman Kodak, Olympus America and Konica Minolta. "We really appreciate the support we've gotten from these companies. They're doing something very positive for our military personnel and their families." There were also tables full cameras donated by individuals. Each used camera has been checked out to make sure it's working properly.
The response has been great, but with more than a hundred thousand troops in Iraq, many more times that number in distant outposts of the world, and an even larger number of family members waiting back home, there's still a great need to fill. "People interested in donating can go to our Web site,," Goldstone said. The program will continue through Independence Day 2005.
The cameras are being distributed by a Southern California-based non-profit group called Operation Homefront, which has 30 chapters and some 2000 volunteers throughout the country. The group's Executive Director Ernie Leidiger explained, "The lack of communications is the number one issue effecting military families. Operation Homefront was designed to address that issue." Among other activities, the group distributes computers so that service personnel and their families can keep in touch with e-mail and Internet phone. "Operation Photo is one of the best ideas we've seen in three years."
The first military wife to receive a digital camera was Madeline Letchford, whose husband James is with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit on board the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard. The first picture her husband will see is of her and their 6 month old son Jimi. "My husband will love it. There's no better way to keep in touch than with pictures."
To further help the military families, Goldstone is giving them a 40 percent discount on products and services being ordered through the lab's Web site, "That makes it possible for them to get reprints and blow-ups." He's also providing a 25 percent discount on on-line orders to people who donate digital cameras.

Digital Cameras For A Good Cause: Operation Photo

Operation Photo Collecting Digital Cameras for Soldiers

Operation Photo Collecting Digital Cameras for Soldiers
PLEASE NOTE: All information regarding Operation Photo is for historical purposes only. Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting cameras for this program.You can directly contact
Well-known business leader Mitch Goldstone has organized “Operation Photo,” a humanitarian campaign for military members and their families. Operation Photo reaches out to all digital camera users requesting donations of used but working cameras. The cameras will provide military families a way to keep in touch with loved ones through digital pictures, and will especially help deployed parents who are away from their children for long periods of time.
"These digital cameras will go to military families here [in America] so they can take pictures of their families and send [them] to their loved ones overseas," Goldstone told the Chicago Tribune. "I want people to open their appliance drawers, pull out their older digital cameras and share them with the families." This is not Goldstone’s first national grassroots initiative. His efforts have also been seen through, which brought thousands of people to New York City to support the airlines and commerce after 9/11. His hope with Operation Photo is to raise ten thousand used digital cameras by Valentine’s Day. As president and CEO of, he is giving out a $25 gift certificate from his business, to those donating a digital camera. Donators will also receive a tax write-off for the value of their camera.
Operation Homefront, the national non-profit who serves military families of deployed servicemembers, will be distributing the cameras as part of their communications program. All the donated digital cameras will be packaged for distribution to military bases and military family support organizations across the nation; each camera will include a special 40 percent discount for ordering Kodak-quality photos from Servicemembers abroad can also use the company's free photo sharing service to send pictures back home and order real photos too. All orders are ready in minutes and mailed back across the U.S. the same business day when received prior to 6:10 PM (ET).
“We are thrilled about this program, it will enhance the visual communication between military families and deployed spouses,” says Ernie Leidiger, Executive Director of Operation Homefront. “We currently have a computer distribution program that recycles good pre-owned computers to young military families in need, the digital cameras provide for a great add-on to the email communications. Dads and Moms serving overseas can share pictures and changes that happen in their families while they’re gone. Many military families can’t afford this luxury. Enhancing communications between families helps alleviate problems and loneliness from occurring.”

Operation Photo Picking Up Steam

"Operation Photo" picks up steam
"Operation Photo," co-founded by Mitch Goldstone, president of 30 Minute Photos Etc., Irvine, Calif., USA, and by
Jennifer Petersen of Ladera Ranch, Calif., USA, is picking up steam, according to an article by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample of American Forces Press Service.
By the end of February, Petersen, who used to work at Goldstone's company, hopes to collect at least 10,000 digital cameras to give to families of deployed service members so they can share photos with loved ones serving abroad. Goldstone said the cameras will be distributed to families through the military support organization Operation Homefront, a San Diego-based nonprofit group that aids families of deployed soldiers and reservists. Goldstone added that Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y., USA, has also made a donation of digital cameras to the cause. Goldstone has contacted other camera manufacturers as well, and expects to hear back from some in the near future regarding possible participation in the program. PMA NEWSLINE.

Operation Photo Puts Military Families in Picture

Operation Photo puts military families in picture
PLEASE NOTE: All information regarding Operation Photo is for historical purposes only. Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting cameras for this program.You can directly contact
ALEX L. GOLDFAYNPublished January 22, 2005
Irvine, Calif.In business, Mitch Goldstone has always subscribed to a theory he calls "fire, ready, aim."
Which is fitting, given that the camera store owner's latest volunteer venture involves the military.
It is called Operation Photo.
"I'm going to raise 10,000 digital cameras for distribution to military families across the U.S. by Valentine's Day," Goldstone said.
Many of the cameras will come from consumers, but some will be donated by manufacturers. Goldstone said Eastman Kodak Co. and Olympus Corp. are participating.
Most of the cameras will be used but refurbished. The type of camera doesn't matter. It only matters that it works.
"These digital cameras will go to military families here [in America] so they can take pictures of their families and send [them] to their loved ones overseas," Goldstone said. "I want people to open their appliance drawers, pull out their older digital cameras and share them with the families."
An organization called Operation Home Front (, which supports military families, will distribute the donated cameras.
Goldstone said he started the program about two weeks ago and has received about 225 cameras so far.
"But about 75 percent of the e-mails I've received about this are from families asking how they can get a camera," he said.
Those who donate a camera will receive a receipt "to write off the value of their camera."
And Goldstone is also throwing in another goodie for donors: a $25 online gift certificate for his camera store's site (
But Goldstone insisted Operation Photo is about doing the right thing, not about marketing.
"Would it be nice if 10,000 people who donate their digital cameras become customers?" he asked. "Sure. But I'm not sophisticated enough to know if I will get 10,000 new customers by Valentine's Day. I do know I'm going to get 10,000 digital cameras by Valentine's Day, though."
And if recent history is any indication, he's probably right.
Soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Goldstone organized a gathering of 5,000 business people from across the country to travel to New York in a symbolic effort to revitalize that city's economy (details and photos at
And with attendance at the Olympic Games lagging last year, he put together, an initiative to encourage American spectators to travel to Athens.
The programs were considered successful, and Goldstone expects Operation Photo to be no different.----------

Duo Collects Cameras for Troops' Families

America Supports You: Duo Collects Cameras for Troops' Families

America Supports You: Duo Collects Cameras for Troops' Families
PLEASE NOTE: All information regarding Operation Photo is for historical purposes only. Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting cameras for this program.You can directly contact
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug SampleAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2005 -- Jennifer Petersen of Ladera Ranch, Calif., made a New Year's resolution to help make the world a better place for her 18-month- old daughter, Kayla.
And she is hoping to fulfill that resolution by helping the families of servicemembers who, she said, are "not only protecting our country, but protecting our world."
By the end of February, Petersen, 28, hopes to collect at least 10,000 digital cameras to give to families of deployed service members so they can share photos with loved ones serving abroad in the war on terror.
Operation Photo, is an effort she co-founded with Mitch Goldstone of Irvine, Calif., a close friend and owner of a local online photo service where she once worked. Goldstone said the cameras will be distributed to families through the military support organization Operation Homefront, a San Diego-based nonprofit group that aids families of deployed soldiers and reservists.Goldstone said he plans to send an announcement to customers of his business, asking them to donate their used digital cameras. He also is soliciting businesses to donate. As a further incentive to get people to donate, Goldstone said, he is offering a $25 online gift certificate for developing services at his company.
"You hear the stories about servicemembers overseas who have never seen their children -- their wives gave birth after they deployed," Petersen said. "So I was thinking of a way they could still watch their kids grow up, and digital cameras, God bless them, are the way."
She noted that many people have digital cameras they are not using. "Rather than sitting and collecting dust, they may as well go to a family that could use them to share memories of their loved ones," she said.
"Being away without my daughter would kill me," she admitted, "and I can't imagine the soldiers who are away from their families for weeks, months, a year. I don't know how they do it; they are much stronger people than I am."Petersen, a professional wedding photographer, said she knew Goldstone, a community activist, would be eager to help. He had shown his patriotism in the past.
Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Goldstone co-founded "Economic Patriotism in Irvine and Coast to Coast," an effort he said organized 5,000 tourists to travel by airline to New York City to help stimulate commerce for the city and to prove it was safe to fly.
Goldstone said he was willing to help Petersen in her effort because he's been in the photo business for some time and understands "the impact, and how important a single photographic print is."
"They've been overseas for a long time now, and nothing would please me more than to share the power of a photograph with them," he said. "I'd love nothing more than our troops abroad to be able to hold pictures of their families. That is such is such a powerful, motivating factor for boosting morale."
Related Site:
Operation Homefront
Mitch Goldstone of Irvine, Calif., who runs a photo processing business, co-founded Operation Photo to distribute digital cameras to families of deployed servicemembers so they can send pictures of their children the troops who are away from home.

How can your older-model digital camera find new life and bring military families closer together?
Donate those old digital cameras
Digital cameras can connect soldiers with families

Digital cameras can connect soldiers with familiesBY JENN STEWART IRVINE WORLD NEWS
Somewhere between stepping into the shower and rinsing conditioner from her hair Tuesday morning, Jennifer Petersen, 28, realized that thousands of overseas troops don’t get to watch their families grow and that she needed to do something about it. So the freelance photographer came up with the idea of gathering old digital cameras and sending them to the families of deployed service men and women so they can stay connected with their loved ones. "When I had my daughter my entire life changed. That was it," Petersen said. "I couldn’t imagine not seeing her for one day, let alone a month or a year." Petersen figured that as older model digital cameras were replaced by new and improved models during the holidays, many people would be stuffing their dated camera into the closet with other aged electronics. This way, families donating cameras otherwise relegated to collecting dust can possibly change the life of a young mother or father deployed overseas. " It’s a win-win situation. I don’t see how anyone can lose at this," Petersen said. By 7 a.m. Petersen contacted local businessman and entrepreneur Mitch Goldstone and explained her idea. Goldstone has plenty of experience in supporting worthy causes. His Economic Patriotism in Irvine and Coast to Coast (EPICC) and Support the Olympic Games campaigns have raised awareness and funds. Goldstone didn’t have to think twice, he was sold on Petersen’s idea and by noon he had connected with a national non-profit that offered to distribute donated cameras. He also added the extra bonus of a $25 gift certificate for services from his business on, where digital photos can be developed, for anyone donating a digital camera. Operation Homefront is a San Diego-based non-profit that focuses on supporting the families of deployed soldiers and reservists. One of its current programs gives donated computers to families of service people who could not afford one. This year they have already given out 3,000 computers, said Ernie Leidiger, president of Homefront Foundation. When Leidiger heard Goldstone’s pitch, he accepted immediately. " I think it’s awesome, it’s phenomenal," Leidiger said. "It is a major enhancement to our current program." Having served under Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf during the first Gulf War, Leidiger knew how hard it is to be away from a young family. "The only way we communicated was by letter and I would go months without any communication with my wife and children," he said. Today, he said, there are 190,000 families at any given time that are short a family member because duty calls. " We’re going to make great use of this stuff, it’s a great idea," Leidiger said. Irvine World News

Kodak, Sony, Canon and All Other Used Digital Camera Models Finding New Life and Bringing Military Families Closer Together

Kodak, Sony, Canon and All Other Used Digital Camera Models Finding New Life and Bringing Military Families Closer Together.
PLEASE NOTE: All information regarding Operation Photo is for historical purposes only. Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting cameras for this program.You can directly contact
Wed Dec 29,10:09 AM ET Irvine, CA (PRWEB) December 29, 2004 -- Mitch Goldstone a well-known leader in the photo industry, is also recognized for his national grassroots campaigns, such as , which brought thousands of people to New York City to support the airlines and commerce in the Big Apple after 9/11. Among other humanitarian campaigns was last summer's which was also organized with his partner, Carl Berman, to bring business leaders to Athens for the Olympic games. This time, Goldstone is reaching out to picture-takers across the U.S. with "Operation Photo" -- a program appealing for photographers to donate their older model digital cameras to families of service members distanced during the New Year. The trash pile of electronic gadgets are inundated with outmoded pagers, antiquated cell phones and now older-model digital cameras models. These devices often get squirreled away in the family appliance closet as newer models are purchased. In the case of digital cameras, the older models are still ideal for taking family photos and now have a new life as people contribute their used cameras to "Operation Photo" as a catalyst for disseminating it to military families.Only digital cameras (and only those in good operational condition) will be processed. In return, 30 Minute Photos Etc. -- the national online photo service -- will validate a $25 online gift certificate towards its digital processing photo service for each operational digital camera mailed to "Operation Photo." [Only one gift certificate per person / address]All the donated digital cameras will be packaged for distribution to military bases and military family support organizations across the nation; each camera will include a special 40% discount for ordering Kodak-quality photos from Service members abroad can also use the company's free photo sharing service to send pictures back home and order real photos too. All orders are ready in minutes and mailed back across the U.S. the same business day when received prior to 6:10 PM (ET)."This is a `win-win' for everyone. People who just bought newer model digital cameras now have a noble method for sharing their used digital cameras with families of service members. Military families can exchange and share their personal photos with each other. And even camera manufacturers benefit by offering incentives to consumers who upgrade to newer model digital camera technologies," explained Goldstone, president and CEO of 30 Minute Photos Etc.Goldstone explained that because 100% of his online customers already own digital cameras, they are prime candidates for also owning older model cameras and is promoting "Operation Photo" nationwide to this national customer base.
Scan Photos, 35mm Slide and Negative Scanning, Photo Restoration, Digital Printing -