Quarter 2 Winner: Linda Craig, Realtor®, Florida SunCoast Real Estate
RASM has established a Humanitarian Award to be bestowed quarterly, designed to recognize the Realtors® who are doing great things in our community. The RASM Community Outreach Committee has proudly recognized Linda Craig, Realtor® with Florida SunCoast Real Estate, as the “Humanitarian of the Quarter” recipient for the Second Quarter of 2022.
Linda Craig is the Director of Manasota Operation Troop Support (MOTS), a non-profit organization serving military troops deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait with ties to Manatee and Sarasota County and their families. Having grown up in the military, Linda has first-hand knowledge of the pressures and hardships military service can entail. Linda has selflessly served MOTS for the past 15 years, giving her time, energy, and love, advocating for military families and veterans. The non-profit was born out of a strong desire to help veterans, and their families, including her own Wounded Warrior son, who served in Iraq.
“I routinely sent care packages to my son, but I felt compelled to do something more. I was looking for local organizations that helped vets in our area, but at that time, they were few and far between,” said Craig.
Linda joined a small group that met at King Middle School, where her younger son attended, who were committed to assembling care packages for active military serving overseas. From there, the group grew and eventually applied for 501C3 status. Because of her dedication and commitment, Linda was promoted from a volunteer to their director, and it has grown substantially through the years.
Linda helped to grow MOTS from the ground up. She routinely applied for grants, collected supplies, organized fundraisers, and was able to have a facility donated.
Assistance of all kinds
The services that MOTS provides are extensive and multi-faceted.
“No need is too great or too small, we always want to help. We help with immediate needs like car repair, electric bills, furniture, washers and dryers, food, children’s school supplies, or anything that comes up. We do not have room to store donated furniture, but if there is a specific need, for example, like a bed or dresser, we will meet that need.
“So many of our veterans and their spouses feel alone. Suicides and drug abuse among our vets are a big concern. PTSD and other issues are very common. Whether we are a listening ear, or help with hospital costs, or assist with a treatment facility – we are here to help,” said Craig.
MOTS also organizes a “meat pantry” about every six weeks, where Linda rents a truck and picks up donated meats by various grocery stores. This has been a help in feeding veteran families in need in our area.
MOTS routinely collects donated items and assembles care packages to send to troops overseas. They collect all sorts of items, socks, clothes, treats, chocolates, comfort foods, hand sanitizer, and items that remind our vets of home. Even if someone doesn’t have funds to donate, cards and notes are wonderful in a care package.
“Never underestimate the power of an encouraging note,” said Craig. “Our vets need to know that we care and that they are not alone. My own son called me from Iraq and sounded so low. He said, “does anyone even remember that we’re here?’ That is my goal in a nutshell – to make sure that each veteran, whether deployed or back home, knows that they are not alone.”
In addition, MOTS collects children’s school supplies in connection to the Dollar Tree program for children of veterans, as well as donation drives for Christmas presents for the children and families of veterans in our community.
“I have answered my phone for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 15 years. If somebody just needs to talk about their husband in the hospital, or they are fearful because they haven’t heard from their spouse, I am here to talk. We can’t do everything, but we will do all we can,” said Craig.
Like many non-profits, COVID has greatly impacted their efforts. Even with the pandemic easing, donations and volunteer hours are still down.
“I am surrounded by wonderful volunteers. We have fantastic board members, local support, and dedicated volunteers,” said Craig, “but we’re always in need of donations. Every care package we send costs $20.00 alone, sometimes more. Even with the donations we receive, the need is great.”
For more information about MOTS, including ways to donate to this worthy non-profit, visit their website, their Facebook page, or call (941) 782-0748. MOTS is located at 4301 32nd St W, Bradenton, FL 34205.
RASM sincerely thanks Linda Craig for her dedication and giving spirit, and we thank all our members who volunteer and give to our community and make a difference in the lives of others. To nominate someone for the RASM Humanitarian Award, email email@example.com.
This article is from the June 2022 issue of our ELEVATE magazine. To view the magazine, click here.