Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, partnered with Safeway and Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families, to kick off a winning race weekend for a Phoenix military family.
With special guest, NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, "The King" Richard Petty, Eckrich and Petty surprised the Lozano family with race tickets to Sunday's event at the track in Phoenix. If meeting Petty and personally being handed tickets to Sunday's race wasn't enough, Petty then helped present the family with free groceries for one year from Eckrich.
Eckrich, Richard Petty and Richard Petty Motorsports have been partnering to honor U.S. military families since 2012. Petty is NASCAR's all-time winningest driver and enjoys giving back to military families.
"Today continues our partnership with Eckrich and their support of military families," said Petty. "Eckrich has always given back to military families and it's important we say thanks and honor them. We can't race without their sacrifice. In the grand scheme, this is a small token of our appreciation and we hope they enjoy the race and their free groceries for one year."
Staff Sergeant Michael Lozano served in the United States Marine Corp from 1991-2004 and is currently in the United States Air Force Reserve waiting medical retirement. He deployed to Iraq in 2003 and served during Operation Iraqi Freedom I & II. In 2010-1011 he again deployed to Incirlik Airbase in Turkey during Operation New Dawn. In addition to being a mother and a caregiver to Michael, Valery serves as a federal agent and works 40 to 50 hours a week.
"This is just another example of people out there that care and show us that there is life after combat," said Michael. "So, this is a special moment for my family thanks to Eckrich, Safeway and Richard Petty."
"With Eckrich doing this event with Operation Homefront, it is going to hopefully let other people know that they care and are here to us help out," commented Valery. "That makes us feel good and we're really thankful for what they did for us today."
The surprise is part of the ongoing campaign by Eckrich to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront and their Hearts of Valor® program. Hearts of Valor is a network of people caring for wounded, ill or injured service members. Operation Homefront supports these caregivers in their own journey of healing by facilitating an online community that provides social connections to other caregivers in similar situations, fostering support groups by geographic area to encourage resource sharing and friendships, and sponsoring annual retreats to provide education on relevant issues.
Eckrich, entering the fifth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, has surpassed $1 million in donations since 2012.
"Eckrich is proud to partner with Richard Petty Motorsports and Richard Petty to help us honor our military families," said Chuck Gitkin, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. "Richard has shown his commitment to supporting our campaign and we're grateful that he can help us make these events so special for the military families being honored. We also appreciate the support of Safeway as we continue in our mission to thank and honor military families across the country. We thank the Lozano family for their service and sacrifice and are proud to present them with one year of free groceries."