PARAMUS, N.J. — Volunteers packed into the Paramus Elks Lodge on Oct. 14 to fulfill Operation Goodybags' mission to thank local first responders with treats and hand-written notes.
The nonprofit organization was founded after 9/11 by Paramus resident Jane Cosco. The East Brook Middle School teacher organized school activities that raised thousands of dollars for the Paramus Fire Department, Ambulance Corps, Police Department, Rescue Squad, and K-9 Rescue Dogs .
Cosco's former student, Joseph Chinnici, was deployed in Guantanamo Bay for "Operation Enduring Freedom" in 2011 when his entire unit received goody bags from the organization.
"It was a great treat for all of us to receive a special gift while serving," the veteran said. "It reminded us why we were there, to protect and serve our nation and community."
Chinnici joined Operation Goodybag as a volunteer with his friends, family, coworkers and fellow Rotarians after settling into civillian life.
"It's been a great way to give back to a great organization," he said.
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