Military Family Honored by Eckrich, Publix and “The King” Richard Petty

Seven-Time NASCAR Champion Surprises Hamilton Family with $1,000 in Free Groceries Courtesy of Eckrich

LISLE, Ill. – (October 10, 2015) – Thanks to Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, a North Carolina military family was honored by Hall of Fame driver and American icon, “The King” Richard Petty Saturday afternoon before the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.

Staff Sergeant Retired Melinda “Doc” Hamilton and her family were greeted at the race track by the Richard Petty Motorsports team and escorted to meet the legendary driver. Petty then surprised the family with a Publix gift card for $1,000 towards the purchase of groceries, courtesy of Eckrich.

American Muscle

Eckrich, a sponsor of the famed No. 43, has previously partnered with Petty for similar events 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.  Petty has been a supporter of military families for many years, but each time he meets a family it is always unique and special.

Eckrich really knows how to give back to our military families,” said Petty. “There are so many deserving military families and Eckrich continues to honor them with their own special way of saying ‘thanks’.  It’s great to watch the reactions of the families. They are always humbled and appreciate that Eckrich takes time to pay tribute to their sacrifice.”

The gift of groceries is part of the commitment by Eckrich to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront.  In its fourth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, Eckrich recently surpassed $1 million in donations since 2012.

“Like Eckrich, Publix and Richard Petty are great supporters of our military families,” said Chuck Gitkin, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. “We are proud to show our appreciation with a VIP racing experience and $1,000 in free groceries at Publix.”

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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