It's a little taste of home for our troops – a good cigar at the end of a day, together with a chance to unwind while working hard so far away from family and friends. This is Operation: Cigars for Warriors, and it's an amazing network of volunteers working to help make that relaxing moment happen for our troops. Soaring requests for premium smokes prove that the giving of such a small item, a single cigar, makes a huge impact on their well-being.
And that's the primary mission of Op: CFW, to send premium cigars and cigar-related items to our troops in war zones. Our secondary mission is to send premium cigars and cigar-related items to our warriors on long-term deployments and long term forces afloat.
History of Op: Cigars For Warriors
We signed our by-laws on May 1st 2012. Operation: Cigars For Warriors was a handful of members who were part of another organization that, let's say, “had the right idea.” We came up with our phoenix logo, as it represented Op: CFW rising from the ashes, and becoming something very special.
A great statistic I love to tell people is that in June 2012, we sent thirteen boxes of 40-60 cigars each. One year later, in June 2013, it's up to 301 boxes – which translates to over 12,000 cigars in one month!! Since it all began, Op: CFW has shipped over 100,000 total premium cigars overseas to our men and women of all U.S. Military branches bravely fighting for our rights. Cigars For Warriors has grown into an amazing organization that supports our troops first.
Op: CFW has been fortunate to enjoy partnerships with some big names in the cigar business, including Famous Smoke Shop and here with Cigar Advisor. They're a huge contributing factor to the success we've enjoyed to date, through tremendous monthly donations and multiple ways they show their support to us. Drew Estate was the first company that stood beside us, called us partners, and they continuously up their support.
Drew Estate has such a great reputation for integrity and success, which gave us a strong start of legitimacy – and many other companies have stepped up big time to offer support. Without our partners in the cigar industry, we would have been completely backlogged with requests for years. But with their assistance and cigar groups members like C.A.T.S., LOLA's, Cigar Hustlers, Cigar Lounge Club, Drew Estate Fans, Subculture Studios, and others, we have been able to keep up with about 98% of the troop requests. While this may seem like a lot, understand we are now sending out over 10,000 cigars a month. While we do send more and more cigars every month, our requests from the troops increase as well since our message has been getting out, because of great magazines like Cigar Advisor!
One of the most exciting elements of Op: CFW is our Event Coordinator Department. Event Coordinators, or EC's, have become the frontline and face of Op: CFW. While this is the most exciting staff position, it is easily one of the most important, and one with the greatest impact. These men and women are asked to go to their local shops and open up donation centers. While most of these locations are cigar shops, they are not always – we have had other companies that love the mission and support us in the best way they can.
EC's also are present at all of the company's events, which the cigar industry's reps love us to attend. We have calls all the time to see if we have a CFW rep in the area that is available to come support their event. We have had booths set up at a variety of events, from bike rallies to music festivals. There are currently over ninety Donation Centers throughout the United States, including one in Guam!
The cigar community festivals and events have been a great success for us over this past year. This year alone, Cigar Circus, Chattanooga Tweet Up, Famous Smoke Shop, Hub City Bikers Fest, PA Musikfest, and many others have all rolled out the red carpet for Cigars for Warriors.
Over 200 individual cigar events and benefits have been directly created to support the Op:CFW mission. Even at the newest festival in Texas, C.A.T.S. Fest , we had great success at the After Hours Party that was dedicated to Op: Cigars For Warriors and sponsored by Drew Estate. We're looking forward to having this trend continue, and I hope to see you at an Op:CFW cigar event soon!