Army Reserve Soldier Cory Strouth and his wife Laura wanted to take their dream honeymoon but couldn't afford it two years ago when they wed. Now, after a special surprise from Eckrich and NASCAR star Aric Almirola, the couple will be able to fulfill that dream, and more.
Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, and Almirola, shocked the Strouth family Friday morning after driving up in his No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Eckrich racecar in front of an Albertsons in Phoenix, Arizona. Almirola jumped out, thanked the military family for their sacrifice and announced Eckrich will provide them with the opportunity to have their dream honeymoon of an all-expenses-paid Alaskan Cruise. On their way to Alaska, the family will spend a VIP race weekend in Napa Valley and attend the race in Sonoma, California.
Moments later, Danny Semerjibashian of Albertsons presented the Strouth family with one-year of free groceries on behalf of Eckrich. Finally, the day wouldn't be complete without Almirola inviting them to Sunday's race at the Phoenix International Raceway as guests of Eckrich, this week's primary sponsor of the legendary No. 43.
The morning of surprises for the parents of three young children is part Eckrich's ongoing effort to honor, thank and give back to military families through their partnership with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.
"We are committed to honoring and supporting military families across the country," said Charles Gitkin, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. "This is a special program for Eckrich and we're proud to partner with Operation Homefront, Aric Almirola and Albertsons to give back to the Strouth family today in Phoenix."
For Almirola, it's another opportunity for him to give back to his military roots.
"My father served in the U.S. Air Force so I grew up in a military family," said Almirola. "When I'm invited to be a part of Eckrich in honoring our military families, I take a lot of pride in it because I understand the sacrifices they make. And, now that I'm a father of two young children myself, it's even more meaningful. This is something great that Eckrich does and I'm happy for the Strouth family today."
Cory and his wife are parents of a five-year-old girl, four-year-old boy and a one-year-old boy. Cory is a member of the Texas National Guard and has long served our country.
"We're really thankful for everything that Eckrich, Aric Almirola and Operation Homefront have done for us today," commented Cory. "It means a lot when people take time to say 'thanks' for serving. Today is really wonderful for us and it's a day we won't forget."
Eckrich is in its fourth year of partnership with Operation Homefront and has already donated more than $750,000 to the charity since 2012.