Operation Tomahawk starts school year strong, looks ahead to future


Submitted Tim Goodnow

Operation Tomahawk members gather at Northborough resident Tim Kelleher’s home to prepare meals for local responders.

Riya Mahanta, Assistant News Editor

Kicking off the school year by honoring Sept. 11 heroes, Operation Tomahawk continues to plan several military-related events throughout the year. 

Operation Tomahawk is a club that supports military personnel, veterans and first responders through events, assemblies and community work. 

On Sept. 11, the 20th memorial of the 9/11 tragedy, the club honored local first responders by organizing a community service event.

“[Club founder and current army member] Allan Bramhill came to me with this idea,” social studies teacher and club adviser Gina Johnston said. “On 9/11, we thought it was the perfect time to honor our local first responders. 9/11 is supposed to be considered to be a day of service, so this was our way of giving back.”

With the help of local caterer and Algonquin dad Tim Kelleher, students prepared meals for 40 local responders. The meals included baby back ribs, grilled buttermilk ranch chicken, roasted red peppers, baked macaroni and cheese, cheesy Delmonico potatoes and caesar salad.

“The kids helped with the grilling and cooking; it was great to see them engaged in the actual preparation of the food from start to finish,” Kelleher said. “They all stepped up and it was so impressive to see these young men and women who showed up to participate in this.”

The club plans to make this an annual event. 

“It’s important to honor and support our local first responders because they do so much to keep our community safe, and this is a great way to do that,” club President senior Sean Leahy said.

“When Ms. Johnston asked me if I could help again for following years, I was honored,” Kelleher said. “It’s a privilege to give back to those who gave so much.”

Every year, the club hosts signature events and fundraisers. Their next upcoming event is the Veterans Day assembly. 

“We host and help prepare a Veterans Day assembly open to all students, where current students who are joining the military will speak, as well as veterans,” Leahy said. 

In addition to that, Operation Tomahawk holds a Memorial Day assembly and hosts the “Murph Challenge,” a set of workouts done  to raise money for the Michael Murphy Education Fund and awareness for the soldiers who sacrifice their lives in the military.

In previous years, the club has also volunteered at Veteran Inc., a rooming house for veterans in Worcester. 

“We used to help serve food to homeless veterans at Veteran Inc., but unfortunately have not been able to recently due to COVID-19,” Leahy said.  “Hopefully we can go back soon.”

The volunteers have left a large impact on the veterans, and vice versa. 

“The appreciation that the [veterans at Veteran Inc.] show to these young kids for just cooking them a meal is really powerful and moving,” Kelleher said. “We should be the ones thanking them and showing our appreciation for them, which is what the main goal of this club is.”

Operation Tomahawk meets every Thursday right after school in G103. Email [email protected] for more details.