Military Family Honored by Eckrich and NASCAR Driver Aric Almirola

Vazquez Family Surprised With One Year of Free Groceries Courtesy of Eckrich

LISLE, Ill., Nov. 09, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Thanks to Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, a local military family was honored by NASCAR driver Aric Almirola on Sunday morning before the race at the Texas Motor Speedway.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

The Vazquez family was greeted at the race track by the Richard Petty Motorsports team and escorted to meet the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner. Almirola then surprised the family with one year of free groceries at the Fort Worth NAS Commissary, courtesy of Eckrich.

Eckrich, a sponsor of the famed No. 43, has previously partnered with Almirola to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront, a national non-profit whose mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families. Almirola, who was born on Eglin Air Force base in Florida, knows the importance of giving back to military families.

“I’m proud to work with Eckrich to honor our military families,” said Almirola. “I have two children of my own and I can’t imagine how hard it is for our military families.  This is a great way for Eckrich to assist them and I’m glad that I can do my part to help.”

Eckrich, in its fourth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, has surpassed $1 million in donations since 2012.

Retired Sergeant Leonel Vazquez served in the United States Army for 11 years and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan twice.  His wife, Tania, attends Hearts of Valor’s Dallas support group meeting.  They both love reading and spending time with their four children. 

“Like Eckrich, Aric Almirola is a great supporter of our military families,” said Chuck Gitkin, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. “We are proud and honored to show our appreciation with a once in a lifetime NASCAR experience and one year of free groceries at the Fort Worth NAS Commissary.”

Eckrich is a brand of Smithfield Foods.  For more information about Eckrich, please visit

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 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

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 entrepreneur Andrew Murstein, 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 Sam Hornish Jr. drives the No. 9 machine with primary partners Medallion Bank and Twisted Tea. In addition, Dakoda Armstrong wheels the No. 43 WinField Ford Mustang full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The team is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.


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