FORT LEE, Va., 2015-9-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — When Army Specialist Daquana Brown showed up at the Fort Lee, Virginia, Commissary on Sept. 11, she expected to pick up VIP passes to a NASCAR race she had won for the following night at the Richmond International Raceway. Maybe she even expected to pick up a few items at the store’s customer appreciation case lot sales event.
But she got a lot more.
Waiting for Brown was a ceremony, with representatives from Smithfield Foods’ Eckrich brand, the national non-profit organization Operation Homefront, Richard Petty Motorsports and the Defense Commissary Agency.
In addition to the race passes, she received Richard Petty Motorsports team shirts and ball caps for her and her children, 4-year-old Angelina, and 3-year-old Noah. The children sat in NASCAR driver Aric Almirola’s No. 43 Ford, stood back and held their ears as a Richard Petty team rep fired it up and unleashed the roar of 750 un-muffled horses stampeding under the car’s hood.
For Brown, the ceremony went from good to crazy as Eckrich representative Jeff Dennison stepped up with a giant placard announcing she had also won free groceries for a year at the commissary, worth up to $7,800, sponsored by Eckrich.
“I’m just really shocked,” Brown said. “I didn’t expect this, and I am thankful to Eckrich and Operation Homefront for everything they did today.”
The day’s events were part of a year-long effort to recognize service members and their families, said Chuck Gitkin, senior vice president of marketing for Smithfield Foods.
“Richard Petty Motorsports has joined Eckrich for the third consecutive year to honor our military families,” Gitkin said. “We are proud to give back to the Brown family, and we hope they enjoy their year of free groceries and their time at the race.”
Eckrich is also in the fourth year of its partnership with Operation Homefront, an organization that provides emergency and other financial assistance to military families. Together, they’ve passed $1 million in donations to the military since 2012.
Commissary Agency officials praised the groups’ efforts on behalf of military families, and thanked them for giving back to the military community.
“The support that our industry partners provide is outstanding and our customers truly benefit from this additional support,” said Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Stuart M. Allison, the senior enlisted advisor to the DeCA director.
According to Charlie Dowlen, DeCA promotions manager, the grocery giveaway is just another reason shopping at the commissary is “worth the trip.”
“This was a great event that fostered goodwill with this individual and her two children as well as the whole post,” Dowlen said. Between the case lot sale and the Eckrich event, the parking lot was completely full.
“The Fort Lee Commissary, like any of our stores worldwide, takes care of its customers and is ‘the place’ for them to come and shop for their groceries.”
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings amounting to thousands of dollars annually. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773