Military Veteran Gets Once in a Lifetime Opportunity to Be "King For a Day"

 Military Veteran Gets Once in a Lifetime Opportunity to Be "King For a Day"

Eckrich and Weis Markets Give Back to Injured Vet and Family; Will Walk in
Richard Petty's Shoes

PR Newswire

LISLE, Ill. and TANNERSVILLE, Pa., June 5, 2014

LISLE, Ill. and TANNERSVILLE, Pa., June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Staff Sergeant
Randy Gray and his family will be treated like royalty this weekend at the
Pocono Raceway thanks to Eckrich, Weis Markets and Richard Petty Motorsports
(RPM). Gray, a member of the National Guard will be a guest of Eckrich and
"The King" Richard Petty.

SSG Randy Gray and his wife Theresa were honored by Eckrich, Weis Markets and
Richard Petty Motorsports in Tannersville, Pa.

Eckrich, through its partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports and Operation
Homefront, surprised Gray, his wife and two sons inside Weis Markets
Tannersville store. While shopping for Eckrich smoked sausage, the family was
greeted by members of the No. 43 team who surprised them with free groceries
for one year at any Weis Markets location. The team then invited Staff
Sergeant Gray and his family outside where the No. 43 Eckrich Ford drove up to
the store front. A member of the RPM team invited the Gray family to not only
join them at the track this weekend, but informed them they would be guests of
"The King" Richard Petty.

Staff Sergeant Gray, who lives in Hunlock Creek, PA, recently returned from a
nine month deployment in Kuwait and is currently in the Wounded Transition
Unit after sustaining an injury. Gray was enlisted as active duty in the Air
Force from 1991 to 1993 before joining the National Guard and deploying to

To ensure that that the Gray family will have an authentic Richard Petty
experience, they received an RPM shirt, similar those worn by Richard Petty,
and additional items that make up the signature Richard Petty look including,
sunglasses, a belt buckle and a Richard Petty Charlie One Horse Cowboy Hat.
The Gray family will join Petty and the team atop of the famed No. 43 race
transporter to watch practice and qualifying sessions of driver Aric Almirola
before viewing the race from the pit box during Sunday's event.

The surprise was part of the Eckrich "Operation Inspiration" campaign which
supports and honors military families. The free groceries for a year at Weis
Markets and the opportunity to join Richard Petty this weekend is something
that the Gray's are grateful for.

"I was really taken back by everything," said Gray after the event. "It's
awesome to have Eckrich, Weiss and Richard Petty Motorsports do something like
this for us. It's really my wife who has to sacrifice when I'm serving. It's
humbling to see people recognize what they go through and it means a lot to
me. We're really excited for the race weekend."

Now in its third year of partnership with Operation Homefront, a national
nonprofit which provides emergency financial and other assistance to the
families of service members and wounded warriors, Eckrich has already donated
more than half a million dollars to the charity. This year, Eckrich is again
planning to donate up to $250,000 through the contribution of five cents from
each purchase of specially marked products from May 1 through July 4.

"We are proud to honor our military families," said Charles Gitkin, vice
president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group.
"Our partnerships with Richard Petty Motorsports, Operation Homefront and Weis
Markets allowed us to give back in a very special and unique way today. It's
something that we're very proud to do for the Gray family after all of their
sacrifices for us."

The family will attend the Pocono 400 this Sunday. The event will be
televised nationally live by TNT beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $13 billion global food company and the world's largest
pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the
leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including
Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook's®, Gwaltney®, John Morrell®,
Kretschmar®, Curly's®, Carando®, Margherita®, and Healthy Ones®. Smithfield
Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains
robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental, and
food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit and

About John Morrell Food Group
With over a century and a half of experience, John Morrell Food Group brands
have become respected and well known for providing premium-quality meat
products to families across the United States. With products ranging from
lunchmeat and franks to smoked sausage, bacon and pepperoni, the John Morrell
Food Group is an important part of consumers' mealtimes. The John Morrell Food
Group offers several national and regional brands including Armour^®,
Eckrich^®, John Morrell^®, Curly's^®, Patrick Cudahy^®, Carando^®, Healthy
Ones^®, Margherita^® Kretschmar^® and LunchMakers^®.

About Eckrich
Founded by Peter Eckrich in 1894, Eckrich has a rich heritage starting from a
small meat market in Fort Wayne, Ind. Through it all, Eckrich meats have been
recognized for their great taste and supreme quality, craftsmanship, care and
pride. For more information, visit

About Operation Homefront
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers
with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance
to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront
has provided assistance to thousands of military families since its inception
in 2002. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity
watchdog groups, nationally, 93 percent of total donations to Operation
Homefront go directly to programs that provide support to our military
families. For more information, go to

About Richard Petty Motorsports
A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports,
co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business
entrepreneurs Andrew Murstein and Douglas Bergeron, is one of the most
recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and
business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race
operation fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Aric Almirola pilots the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion with primary partners
Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force, STP, and Fresh From Florida
and Marcos Ambrose drives the No. 9 Ford Fusion with primary partners STANLEY,
DEWALT, Mac Tools and Twisted Tea. In addition, Dakoda Armstrong will compete
in the No. 43 Ford Mustang with primary partners WinField and Fresh From
Florida for his first full-time season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The
team is headquartered in Concord, N.C.

About Weis Markets
Founded in 1912, Weis Markets, Inc. is a Mid Atlantic food retailer operating
166 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.
For more information, please visit: or

Eckrich logo.

SOURCE Eckrich

Contact: Jeff Dennison, Breaking Limits, Direct: 704-766-9061, Cell:
704-252-3356, E-Mail:
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