JACKSONVILLE, Ore. — More than 200 soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan recently received unexpected care packages, thanks to the generosity of Gary West Smoked Meats of Jacksonville and Certified Angus Beef LLC, Wooster, Ohio.
A group of Certified Angus Beef employees with family members serving in the military decided to host a fundraiser to send care packages, featuring Certified Angus Beef® brand premium steak strips produced by Gary West Meats, to local troops on active duty.
When Gary West Meats heard about the plan, they too wanted to contribute to the cause. Together, the groups worked to raise more than $2,100 through a charity lunch and corporate donations.
“We were happy to join in,” said Paul Murdoch, president of Gary West Meats
“It is a constant surprise how people pull together — even in this difficult economy — to do good for others. The men and women who are overseas on our behalf could use some support.”
In total, the donations were enough to send steak strip care packages to more than 200 troops from Oregon’s 2-641-AVN unit, the Ohio Army National Guard 1-145th, and the 287th Sustainment Brigade from Kansas, where Certified Angus Beef LLC has a second office.
In addition to the gourmet steak strips, the packages featured hand-written notes of thanks to soldiers for their service.
The organizers were delighted to hear their care packages were well-received and appreciated by the troops. A soldier from Oregon, Maj. Ray Hanosek, wrote that the steak strips were “a great reminder of home.”
“I live about 2 miles from the Gary West Meats store in Jacksonville. My kids and I really like going there,” he explained. “Thank you so much for the Gary West beef jerky. I was very happy to receive it.”
One soldier serving in Iraq sent back a note of thanks reading: “I received some packages of Certified Angus Beef® jerky and thought it was delicious. I have never seen it in my area back home but will be looking for it from now on. I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that I appreciate the thoughtful gesture on your part.”
Certified Angus Beef employee Marilyn Conley, who helped organize the fundraiser and whose son is serving overseas, said she was surprised how successful their efforts were.
“The sacrifices these soldiers have made, along with their families — we just wanted them to know that we’re thinking of them and praying for them,” she explained.