Operation: Cigars For Warriors (CFW) reached a significant milestone on May 12, 2022: 10 years in operation as a charity devoted to deployed military service members. As a Platinum-level certified charity (verified by GuideStar), CFW operates with the highest ethical standards of transparency and accountability.
There are many amazing memories and milestones to celebrate over the past decade, but seven in particular stand out:
- The first organization to take CFW on as their primary charity. The C.A.T.S. community has brought massive cigar and cash donations, had great raffle prizes donated and has been the primary source for new volunteers for the first five years. Now there are a huge number of clubs and organizations that have CFW as their primary or secondary charity priority.
- The first news article covering CFW appeared in Cigar Press, which to this date still sends magazines to CFW for the troops and still donates three pages to the charity. This opened the door to additional earned media opportunities, including magazines and 50-plus podcasts over the last decade that have dramatically improved the charity’s visibility.
- The CFW Donation Center Program. Smoker’s Haven in Lubbock, Texas, was the first store that took a chance on CFW, which led to over 600 stores over the years that have joined the CFW community.
- The Event Coordinator Program. The first non-founder volunteer that joined the program was SSG Chris Preetorious, who eventually became the charity’s first military liaison director. Preetorious continues to assist at events on a regular basis.
- The “millionth cigar shipped” in 2019 – a truly remarkable accomplishment for the charity. As of this writing, CFW is already well on its way to the second million with nearly 1.3 million cigars shipped.
- The launch of the Synergy Program, dramatically leveraging the power of the relationships between retailers, manufacturers and the charity to “do good while doing well.” Major successes include collaborations with Hiram & Solomon’s Live2Serve, Caldwell Cigars’ Mad MoFo “Long Live the King,” and most recently The Nubber and Ventura Cigars’ “The Operator.”
- 2020 “Charity of the Year” award from Cigar Trophy/Cigar Journal.
Despite the dramatic increase in premium cigar sales over the past two years, the restrictions on social gatherings and events have dramatically affected the charity’s ability to operate and collect both monetary and physical donations. As festival season accelerates, CFW asks for your generosity and support in helping us reinvigorate our financial and operational health. Monetary donations and information on how to donate cigars can be found at cigarsforwarriors.org.
Additionally, CFW is announcing a formal challenge to share videos and photos of past events as part of a project to capture the most amazing moments of the charity’s history over the prior decade. Post your memories on social media using the hashtag #CFW10YRS or send photos directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Storm Boen, chairman and CEO of Operation: Cigars for Warriors commented:
“Ten years ago, we took on the challenge of serving deployed men and women, providing moments of comfort and relaxation in the midst of incredible hardship. Bonds are forged in the moments of camaraderie that sharing cigars creates.