Thanks to Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, military veteran Michael Zavodny and his family were honored by NASCAR driver Aric Almirola Saturday before the race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.
Zavodny and his family were greeted at the race track by the Richard Petty Motorsports team and escorted to the private motorcoach lot to meet the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner. Almirola then surprised the family with a Hy-Vee gift card for $1,000 towards the purchase of groceries, courtesy of Eckrich. The family also were given the opportunity to watch Almirola race on Saturday night.
Eckrich, a sponsor of the famed No. 43, has previously partnered with Almirola for similar events to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Almirola, who was born on Eglin Air Force base in Florida, knows the importance of giving back to military families.
"I'm proud to work with Eckrich to honor our military families," said Almirola. "I have two children of my own and I can't imagine how hard it is for our military families. This is a great way for Eckrich to assist them and I'm glad that I can do my part to help."
Eckrich, in its fourth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, has already donated more than $750,000 to the charity since 2012. Eckrich is again donating up to $250,000 this year through the contribution of five cents from each purchase of specially marked products from May 1 through July 4. By the end of this year's fundraising period, the expected total donation will surpass $1 million.
"Like Eckrich, Hy-Vee and Aric Almirola are great supporters of our military families," said Chuck Gitkin, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. "We are proud and honored to be able to show our appreciation with a once in a lifetime NASCAR experience and $1,000 in free groceries at Hy-Vee."