Founders of Cpl. Palmer Foundation Share Why Operation Care Package Means So Much

As stated by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In this same vein, sometimes a life full of purpose begins with a single caring deed. For Chuck and Teri Palmer of Manteca, California, their journey began with the desire to take meaningful action following the combat death of their son Charles during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Corporal Charles O. Palmer II was your everyday sort of hero. He was the kind who knew his deepest sense of peace and purpose could only be found in service to others. After five years serving as a reservist in the Marine Corps, he called his father to say he wanted to enlist in the Marines fulltime and was not going to settle for anything less than a role at the epicenter of combat operations.

“I told him to sit on it for 30 days,” said Chuck Palmer, “make sure he was really thinking this through.”
Cpl. Palmer II wasn’t a naïve man. He knew the cost of service, saying, “Mom, I hope my wife understands I won’t be the same man as when I left.”

For someone called to service, wishing he was out there fighting beside his brothers-in-arms as soon as possible, it’s easy to imagine how long those 30 days must have felt. But wait he did. And enlist he did. And so began the daily badgering of his sergeant major, asking for combat placement until the commander finally tired of Charles’ persistence and gave him orders to report to Iraq’s Al Anbar province, a region thick within the soup of combat.

“Once he rejoined, he said, ‘I’m home and I’ve never been happier,’” says Chuck Palmer, who put aside his concerns for his son’s safety in the truest show of support a father can give.
On May 5, 2007, Corporal Palmer was killed during a security sweep when his Humvee stuck a roadside improvised explosive device. He was never assigned to the security detail, but was simply tasked with finding a replacement for a soldier injured on an earlier expedition.

For anyone who knows parents Chuck and Teri Palmer, it is clear where their son inherited his strength and courage. Within only a few short years they formed a far-reaching non-profit dedicated to caring for all sons and daughters busy in service to their country.

The Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program began with care packages sent to their son-in-law in early 2008 and grew to over 1,800 packages sent to troops stationed across the world by the end of the year. And their efforts only skyrocketed from there. Involved in everything from veteran suicide awareness to fundraising drives for family members of those lost in combat, Chuck and Teri have become a true force of support for our troops and those closest to them.

“We owe it to them to let our soldiers know they are loved and supported by the community,” said Teri Palmer.
And their reason for care packages? The joy on the soldiers’ faces in photos sent back in thanks for a little taste of home. Their biggest surprise? The way the community has come together to help rally support: raising funds, collecting goods, and coming together to package the items and see them off, including hand-written letters that soldiers say are every bit as heartening as the goods they receive.

According to Chuck and Teri, the real secret of their success in reaching so many has been collaboration. For the past three years they have been working with the American Red Cross which, thanks to programs such as Operation Care Package, “offer(s) gobs and gobs of supplies to local veteran organizations.”

According to Teri, Operation Care Package is “a very well-planned event. They knock on doors, working hard to get donations. It is clear that the Red Cross has a real desire to serve and protect. It’s an honor to be asked to part of it.”
The Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program welcomes addresses for care packages for soldiers stationed anywhere in the world as well as any family members of soldiers or veterans in need of a little heartfelt giving. Their non-profit operates entirely on word of mouth.

They can be found online at and on Facebook at



Help us Sound the Alarm May 4 & 5

Volunteers from all over the Gold Country Region will gather this weekend in support of Sound the Alarm, the nationwide Red Cross effort to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries from home fires.

Nationwide, the Red Cross will Sound the Alarm through a series of smoke alarm installation and fire safety events in more than 100-high-risk communities. From April 28 through May 13, Red Cross volunteers and partners will install 100,000 free smoke alarms. Our goal in the Gold Country Region is 1,000 alarm installations. These events are part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, which since 2014 has helped save lives through smoke alarm installations and home fire safety education in thousands of communities.

Locally, teams will be installing free smoke alarms in the following locations:

May 4: West Sacramento

May 5: Redding, Live Oak, Orangevale, Newcastle, Citrus Heights, Stockton, Placerville & Murphys

The Red Cross invites the public to volunteer with Sound the Alarm installation events by signing up at

The Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, the majority of which are home fires. Home fires represent a significant threat to our communities, which is why the Red Cross launched the nationwide Home Fire Campaign and rallied an army of volunteers, donors, and partners to canvass high-risk neighborhoods, install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms and help families create escape plans.

“Home fires are the biggest disaster threat we face, killing seven people in this country every day,” said Stephen Walsh, Red Cross Regional Communications Director. “Here in the Gold Country Region alone, we responded to 621 home fires in Fiscal Year 2017. Please help us Sound the Alarm by volunteering to install smoke alarms in your community, making a financial contribution, or taking steps to protect your own family from home fires.”


Partners working with the American Red Cross Gold Country Region on Sound the Alarm include PG&E, Ernest and Julio Gallo Winery, Oracle, Port of Stockton, Doctors Medical Center, Chicken Ranch Casino and Ranch House Restaurant, Dorfman Pacific, Doctors Medical Center, Mocse Credit Union, Burnside Body Shop, Black Oak Casino Resort, Walmart and CGE Foundation.

Big Day of Giving is May 3

Big Day of Giving is a 24-hour online giving challenge that brings together the Sacramento region to raise money for nearly 600 nonprofits and shine a spotlight on the work local organizations do to strengthen the capital area each day!

Make a difference during #BDOG2018 on Thursday, May 3, and donate to the American Red Cross Gold Country Region. This year, we are raising funds for Sound the Alarm, the Red Cross’ national initiative to install free smoke alarms in at-risk communities.

Each year, the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters nationwide, the majority of which are home fires. So, we set a goal to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries in the U.S. by 25%.

Did you know….

  • On average 7 people die every day from a home fire, most impacting children and the elderly
  • 36 people suffer injuries related to home fires every day
  • Over $7 billion in property damage occurs every year

Help the Gold Country Region do its part to reduce injury and death related to home fires by donating now!

Make your donation online on May 3 or pre-schedule your gift by clicking here!

Every donation makes a difference. Thank you!


Why I Work with the Red Cross

“I understand how important one person’s donation is. The 1 pint of blood that a patient gives can mean the world to someone, no matter who they are.  I volunteer because it makes me happy to see people donate and that I can help in the process. Some people may not understand the importance of donating blood but those who do are real lifesavers.”

— Guftav Fatima, Grade 12