Kroger Launches 2012 Honoring Our Heroes Partnership with USO at Daytona 500

The Kroger Co. and the USO are strengthening their partnership with a fresh campaign to support men and women in the armed forces and their families.

In conjunction with the Daytona 500 celebration on Sunday, Feb. 26, Kroger will launch Honoring Our Heroes, a year-long initiative to raise funds for members of our armed forces in partnership with the USO, the leading organization for morale-boosting programs and services for American troops and their families. This is the second year Kroger is sponsoring Honoring Our Heroes.

Thirteen Kroger associates from across the company will join in presenting a $1.5 million donation to the USO prior to the race. The funds were raised in 2011 in partnership with key suppliers and through the contributions of customers and associates at Kroger’s family of stores across the country. This donation will support USO programs serving members of the military, wounded warriors and their families.

“For more than 70 years, the USO has been lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families in many ways, including free phone calls and internet to connect with their loved ones back home, care packages to let them know they are never forgotten, and USO Centers around the world, where they can rest or get a free bite to eat,” said USO President and CEO Sloan Gibson. “None of this would be possible without dedicated partners like Kroger. Our partnership with Kroger makes it possible for our troops and their families to know that their efforts and sacrifices are appreciated. And this is the best way we can honor our heroes.”

In addition to being Kroger associates, these men and women also are active-duty or reservist members of our armed forces. They represent all five branches of the military and the National Guard.

“We can’t think of more fitting ambassadors of our program than our own people, and we are pleased to recognize their service in front of the Daytona 500 race fans,” said Lynn Marmer, group vice president of Corporate Affairs for Kroger. “We thank all of our associates in the military for their service to our country, our communities, and our company. The Kroger family of stores looks forward to helping the USO assist even more of our men and women in uniform.”

As it did in 2011, the Kroger-USO car, driven by NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte, will carry a special Kroger logo in this year’s DAYTONA 500. This emblem features the names of more than 350 Kroger associates who are active duty or reservist members of the U.S. military, in tribute to their service. In addition, Labonte will wear a special helmet during Sunday’s race. Featuring a striking eagle motif and customized paint scheme, the helmet was designed by an associate at Kroger’s general office in Cincinnati especially for this race.

“It’s great to work with Kroger again and have them on board for one of the most prestigious races of the season, the Daytona 500,” Labonte said. “The Kroger logo on the hood of our No. 47 Toyota Camry is pretty cool because it is paying special tribute to hundreds of Kroger associates from across the country. We also have USO on the car. Kroger did an amazing job through Honoring Our Heroes. We’re proud to carry the USO in The Great American Race on Sunday.”

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