LISLE, Ill., April 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Army National Guard veteran Derick Morgan gave up his time with his wife and two children to proudly serve his country for eight years. The only thing he ever asked for in return was to safely arrive back home to his family. Although the time they spent apart can never be given back, Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and deli meats, was proud to be able to honor and thank the Morgan's for their sacrifice to our country.
Eckrich, a brand of Smithfield Foods, partnered with former NFL and University of Oregon quarterback and current college football commentator Joey Harrington to surprise the family. The Morgan's arrived at a Portland, Ore., Albertsons store and were blown away when Harrington, a 2001 Heisman Trophy finalist, walked out of the store to greet the family. Harrington and Albertsons then presented them with free groceries for one year at Albertsons, courtesy of Eckrich.
"It was an honor to partner with Eckrich and to give back to such a deserving family," said Harrington. "I grew up here in Portland, played college football at the University of Oregon and now we raise my family here. It's important to me that I can work with a great brand like Eckrich to give back to the families in our community who served our country."
Morgan enlisted in 2006 and was honorably discharged in 2014. During that time he served in a full combat role in Afghanistan for 11 months. Upon returning home, Morgan has made it his mission to make up for lost time with his family, but being with his wife and children has made him stronger throughout the journey. He was taken aback by today's gesture by Eckrich.
"I'm incredibly overwhelmed," Morgan said. "It was most-amazingly awesome meeting Joey Harrington and having him come here for this leaves me speechless. To feel the support from people who do what you guys (Eckrich and Albertsons) do, is just wonderful. They say a picture says 1,000 words, well, I can give you 1,000 pictures for a million words on what this means to me. It's just phenomenal."
The surprise is part of Eckrich's ongoing partnership with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit which provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Entering into the fourth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, Eckrich has already donated more than $750,000 to the organization. Eckrich is again donating up to $250,000 this year through the contribution of five cents from each purchase of specially marked products from May 1 through July 4.
"It's great to partner with an Oregon legend such as Joey Harrington and to continue to work with Albertsons to honor our military families," said Charles Gitkin, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. "We are proud to work with people who share our passion for honoring our service men and women. Free groceries for one year will bring tremendous financial relief to a household and we are thrilled that we can provide that for them."
For more information about Eckrich, please visit www.eckrich.com.
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 www.eckrich.com.
About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $15 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®, John Morrell®, Gwaltney®, Nathan's Famous®, Kretschmar®, Margherita®, Curly's®, Carando® 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 www.smithfieldfoods.com and www.smithfieldcommitments.com.
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 www.OperationHomefront.net.