Operation Bandana has provided 303,282 bandanas as of 3/1/2022         



Mary Gray is the Founder and Former Executive Director of Operation Bandanas. A Louisiana native, she and her husband, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and Viet Nam veteran, retired for a second time, in 2015, to Wilmington, NC. They have three sons; the oldest, a career soldier serving in the U.S. Army; the middle son, serving as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State; and the youngest son, a veteran of two deployments to Afghanistan, now serving with the Department of Justice.
Mary’s experience as a military wife for 20 years and having had two sons serve in the US Army with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan gives her the advantage of knowing the challenges of military families. She has been the session leader for an overnight retreat for military wives for five years and has been asked back to lead the retreat in 2020.
Mary published her first book, “Lovin’ Our Troops, A Story of Service on Two Fronts,” in 2012, an inspiring true story of faith, patriotism, service, and heroism. She has written or contributed to numerous articles in various publications, including “Battlefields and Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan,” by Jane Hampton Cook; “Psalm 91, God’s Shield of Protection,” (2009 and 2010 editions) by Peggy Joyce Ruth; Lifeway’s “Deacon Magazine,” Summer, 2010 issue; and “Tarheel Talk,”(WMU of NC, Winter, 2007 edition).
Mary is a very people-oriented person, is an inspirational speaker and writer, and has a compassionate heart for helping others. She has worked with numerous non-profits for over 30 years, all involving family and child advocacy, and has gained expertise, education, and experience from them. Mary has participated in the Louisiana Speaker’s Bureau as a speaker for several non-profit organizations. She was awarded the Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana Volunteer of the Year Award in 1997.
Mary received her Women’s Ministry Certificate from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1999.
Mary was recognized for her service to God, family, country, and community by being named Louisiana Mother of the Year in 2002. She has been a licensed foster parent in three States, a MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) mentor, and is involved in Women’s Ministry and Military Ministry on the local and State level.

Something else you may find interesting is that her youngest son is a survivor of Flight 1549 that went into the Hudson River on January 15th, 2009!

Mary is happy to speak to any church, business or organization about the mission of Operation Bandanas. She also enjoys speaking to PWOC groups, which she was actively involved in while an active duty military wife, and at Christian women’s conferences and events motivating women to be all they can be in Christ. She can be contacted at mary@operationbandanas.org.