Texas-based Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC) is preparing to send 37 World War II veterans to Washington, DC, next week as part of its second WWII Heroes Flight.
The company, which operates more than 150 supermarkets in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas under four names (Brookshire’s Food Stores, Super 1 Foods Stores, Ole Foods, and ALPS), held a similar flight back in May.
“We are very grateful for the service provided by these veterans,” said Rick Ellis, chief marketing officer for BGC. “Our first trip with WWII veterans back in May was so rewarding we’ve decided to do it again with a new group of east Texas veterans.”
The company pays for the entire trip, which will cover two days in DC. There is a public sendoff scheduled for 5 a.m. Tuesday morning at the company’s store on Rice Road in Tyler, TX, before the 37 veterans board a plan for the flight to Reagan National Airport. Brookshire is encouraging well-wishers to come to the sendoff.
The group will return on Wednesday, Oct. 6, around 10 p.m. Again, the public is being invited to meet the group at the Rice Road store. The group will visit the WWII Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Capitol, among other historic sites.
“Most of these veterans have never had a chance to see their memorial. We’re thrilled to provide this opportunity,” Ellis said. “We realize time is of the essence for this group. It’s estimated that we’re losing WWII veterans nationally at a rate of 1,000 per day. There is not much time left to honor them in this way.”
To participate, the company accepts applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Unfortunately, due to funding, not every applicant is able to make the trip. Spokesman Sam Lanier said that there have been over 100 applicants for the two trips with 75 making the trek. There is consideration being given to planning additional trips, but Lanier said there are no formal plans at this point.
The company is no stranger to charity work. In October alone, Brookshire’s website lists nearly 50 events that it or its employees are either donating time or money, or in some cases both, too. The company provides over $1 million annually to about 800 groups in need.
One of its more unique community events is the Brookshire World of Wildlife Museum & Country Store. The museum is open to the public with no admission charge. More than 450 animals are on display to educate children on the importance of wildlife. It is located on Rice Road.