SaddleBrooke Troop Support (STS) got its start in May 2005 when five residents wanted to do something to support troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and found that no SaddleBrooke organization existed dedicated to this purpose. Founders Mitch Steinberg, Sheldon Israel, Jerry Lujan, Moose Creighton and Ginny Van Doren named the organization Tucson Troop Support Group (TTSG).
TTSG started small by “adopting” Company A, 6th Battalion, USMCR, located on a corner of Davis Monthan AFB. At that time, no group had reached out in support of these Marines. Company A had deployed at the very beginning of the Iraq War, laying pipelines for water and bulk fuel delivery to tanks and other heavy equipment. Upon completion of their mission they returned to Arizona but eleven volunteers from Company A were still deployed in Iraq when TTSG reached out. These were the first to receive care packages on a regular basis and to this day, we continue to support Marines of Company A.
TTSG formed a Steering Committee of activity leaders with the dual role as “Board of Directors,” setting policy and direction for the charitable works of the organization.
Growth & Evolution
Once word got out to the SaddleBrooke community, it didn’t take long for residents to respond to calls for support. This generosity has been overwhelming and continuous over the years in the form of funding, care packages and comfort items for hospitalized vets and active duty troops. Within months TTSG recognized that volunteers and resources were out there to expand our efforts.
Searching for an appropriate military-oriented organization with whom to affiliate, we were fortunate to find the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 10188. Their mission in support of service members, veterans and families was in line with ours and they’d been active in this role for over 20 years. Affiliating had tax advantages for both groups. They had contacts with Tucson area military units and we recruited additional volunteers, donated items, and funding to grow our ability to support the troops.
Mitch Steinberg was Chairman of TTSG until January 2014 when he retired and George Bidwell was elected President. Also in 2014, the Group decided it was time to apply for our own tax exemption and leave the nest of the Ladies Auxiliary. We changed our name and SaddleBrooke Troop Support became an independent 501(c)(3) organization.