A team effort shows some warmth to kids on a cold day

Operation Warm teamed up with the Laborers International Union of North America and Monumental Sports to hand out hundreds of new coats Monday at a Southeast D.C. school.
Operation Warm teamed up with the Laborers International Union of North America and Monumental Sports to hand out hundreds of new coats Monday at a Southeast D.C. school. (WTOP/John Domen)

It seems winter came quickly to the DMV. So on a cold morning, students at Turner Elementary School in Southeast D.C. got a warm welcome when Operation Warm came through.



The nonprofit teams up with local groups around the region to give out hundreds of coats to kids.

“To think that people in your own community struggle to be able to put warm coats on their children is something that should concern us,” said Brian Donohue, the chief of staff for the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), which helped raise the money for the drive, then helped hand out the new coats Monday morning.

“One girl just came in a second ago and she told one of our employees that she was going to try on every coat here,” he recounted. “She felt like a Kardashian as she went through the list.”

Joining LIUNA for the event were Monumental Sports, Washington Mystics players Natasha Cloud and Elizabeth Williams, and Wizards players Corey Krispert and Jordan Goodwin. They gave out lots of high-fives and helped kids pick just the right jacket.

That often came down to color.

“I like purple,” said a girl named Shemariah, whose only goal Monday was to find a purple coat. Other boys wanted a blue or a green one. They were all going back to class happy though.

“Most of these kids need the coats,” said John Thompson III, the former Georgetown University basketball coach who is now a vice president with Monumental Sports.

“To be able to provide something that they need, and just as important, to make them feel special. It’s not often that these guys get a chance to really feel special, and so we’re giving them something that they need, and we’re trying to make over ’em and love over ’em so that they feel pretty good.”

How much love?

“We’re giving away 500 coats. I’m up to 1,500 high fives,” he said with a laugh.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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