Air Force veteran Master Sgt. Mark Evans understands the tribulations America’s soldiers face daily, and why wouldn’t he? He served 26 long years in the military himself.
But now that he is out of the service, he still feels a strong connection to his brothers and sisters overseas, which is why since 2008, he and his son have been sending hundreds of scrumptious, deep-dish pizzas to soldiers deployed in the Middle East via his non-profit, Pizzas4Patriots.
Obviously, however, sending pizzas every day would be unfeasible, which is why his non-profit only sends them around the Fourth of July and Super Bowl Sunday.
Speaking with Fox News, Evans explained how this amazing tradition came to be. He had been eating pizza with his son while watching the news on July 4th, 2009, when suddenly his son asked him a question.
“My son looked at the soldiers in Iraq on TV and he asked me what they were eating,” Evans recalled. “I told him Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) — not pizza. He asked me if we could send them some pizzas.”
And thus an idea was born that over time has led to over 170,000 pizzas being shipped across around the world and to our soldiers overseas. Evans noted that it was through a partnership with Gen. David Petraeus, who at the time had been serving as commander of CENTCOM, that the idea was able to be brought to fruition.
This year, 800 pizzas will reportedly be headed to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan for Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
“I just like to see smiles on soldiers’ faces and the stories I hear are incredible,” Evans added. “There’s no better feeling than paying it forward.”
Well, there might be one slightly better feeling — that of chomping down a delicious slice of deep-dish pizza while watching the Super Bowl. And thankfully, this year the soldiers at Bagram Air Force Base will get to experience exactly that.
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