Officials of Acosta Sales & Marketing presented a $5 million check to Adam Silva of the Wounded Warriors Project last night. The presentation took place during the Tribute to Heroes Gala dinner emceed by Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends at the Conrad New York Hotel in Battery Park City. The funds were raised during the Jacksonville, Fla.-based food broker’s Believe in Heroes campaign, which ran from Sept. 11 through Veteran’s Day and involved the collaboration of more than 55 brands and 93
retailers to raise funds for the Wounded Warriors Project.
“We did this as a team,” said Robert E. Hill, Jr., president & CEO of Acosta. “We could not have done this as individual companies.”
“This program started out small with Winn-Dixie,” said Gary Chartrand, executive chairman of Acosta. “Last year we took it out on a national basis and this year it was a
really successful program and it continues to grow.”
“The war in Iraq is over and the war in Afghanistan is hopefully winding down,” said Silva, chief development officer of the Wounded Warrior Project. “But when the wars
have ended that is when our work truly begins. The ability to raise funds becomes increasingly difficult as the wars wind down and we are not on the front burner in the
press as we have been for the last several years.”
Two Wounded Warriors addressed the audience during the dinner.
Marine Nancy Schiliro talked about how the Project Odyssey event in Miami helped her physically and mentally recover from losing her eye only days away from the end of her
deployment in Iraq.
Anthony K. Odierno, secretary, board of directors, of the Wounded Warrior Project, who lost his left arm, part of his right arm and had chest injuries because of a rocket-propelled grenade that was tossed at his vehicle in Baghdad, told the audience how the WWP gave him a new lease on life by taking him on a ski trip and giving him a bike to participate in a triathlon.
“What the Wounded Warrior Project did for me was give me hope and confidence,” Odierno said. “That ski trip showed me that I could still do a lot of the things that I had
done before. It gave me the confidence to do more things for myself.”
Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion was one of the key retail partners, raising $935,000 for the effort through promotions at its Food Lion, Harvey’s and Reid’s stores. “This is our second year of working with Acosta on the Believe in Heroes project,” Tom Robinson, senior vice president, merchandising, told Grocery Headquarters. “We had the 55
manufacturers’ products advertised and merchandised in our stores with displays and shelf talkers,” he said.
Robinson said the program was important to Food Lion because the chain operates near several key military installations, including the Norfolk Naval Base, Camp Lejeune, Fort
Campbell and Fort Jackson. “On Veterans Day we offered a 12% discount to veterans, active and retired military personnel and we had 81,000 people participate,” Robinson
Weis Markets also participated in the event. The Sunbury, Pa.-based chain heavily merchandised the featured products in its stores. “We had very good results even though
more than 30 of our stores were shut down because of Hurricane Sandy,” said Kurt Schertle, executive vice president. “We are looking forward to doing an even better job next year.”