Beefin’ up our heroes
Local program supports troops with beef snacks
Independence Day is a good time for us to press pause on our busy lives and thank those who bravely fought, and still protect, the freedoms we all enjoy. One local business has found a unique, tasty way to give thanks – beef snacks.
Copperstone Foods, LLC is coordinating an effort to send Rowdy’s Snacks Hard Tac to military members around the world. The program, called ‘Beefin’ Up Our Heroes,’ provides care packages of hard tac produced in Eustis using locally raised beef.
Beefin’ Up Our Heroes began in December 2009 when Heartland Cattle Company of McCook sent 575 packages of beef jerky to troops stationed in Iraq.
“The response was incredible,” said Cal Siegfried, Managing Partner of Copperstone Foods. “The program has grown into a wonderful opportunity for individuals and businesses to honor our troops. We have sent care packages to Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany and the Persian Gulf.”
About 4,700 sticks have been distributed to soldiers with a goal of 7,000 by the end of 2019. Some of the program’s biggest supporters are Cappel Sales in McCook, and KRVN radio and NebraskalandTire in Lexington.
The hard tac sticks can be sent to a group, a specific area or an individual soldier. If a general donation is made, Copperstone Foods connects with military chaplains to help distribute the snacks to soldiers.
“It’s important that we thank our military members with more than just words,” said Todd Cappel. “I am grateful that there are people who protect the freedoms that I enjoy. They put it on the line.”
Cappel said that he was approached with the idea five years ago and he has donated every year since.
“My wife and I were watching a movie called ‘Indivisible,’ which features a military chaplain,” Cappel recalled. “One scene shows the chaplain offering beef jerky to a soldier to coax the young man to open up about a difficult experience. We looked at each other like, ‘really?’ It reaffirmed our commitment to the program and made us realize that it’s more than just food. It’s a connection to home and brings it all together.”
“We’ve had thank you notes come in, and it is just amazing to see the looks on their faces when they receive the care package,” Cappel said.
One note came from a chaplain aboard a marine ship.
“I am writing to let you know that we have received your generous package of hard tac and to say the Marines of VMM-161 (REIN) love it is an understatement for generations,” the chaplain wrote. “We went without a mail drop for about six weeks and just received it this past week, but were overjoyed by the generosity. We have been delivering the snacks to the crew over the last week and it has been a welcome replenishment of protein and salt as it is incredibly hot out here while our maintainers spend the majority of their days on the flight deck fixing and launching aircraft.”
Individuals and businesses are welcome to support troops through the Beefin’ Up Our Heroes program. The cost is $2 per stick of hard tac, and Copperstone Foods will cover the cost of shipping. To participate or learn more, please contact Cal Siegfried at 308-340-9767 or copperstone (at) calsiegfried.com.