Soldiers to Get 'A Slice of Home' for Super Bowl
Daday, Eileen O., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Eileen O. Daday Daily Herald correspondent
An Elk Grove Village resident is known worldwide as "the pizza man."
Mark Evans is a retired Air Force master sergeant, now working for AT&T. This much he knows: He likes pizza, and as a former soldier, he knows the troops do, too.
"Pizza's the new apple pie," Evans says. "For soldiers who are a long way from home, it's a celebration of life."
For the third year, a nonprofit organization Pizzas 4 Patriots, which Evans started with his teenage son Kent will ship 7,000 pizzas to military troops serving overseas in time for Sunday's Super Bowl.
He figures if each soldier eats a quarter of the pizza, it should be enough to feed 28,000 troops.
They are teaming up with DHL and Uno Chicago Grill, which is providing the majority of the deep dish pies, while a private label pizza corporation is providing the remainder.
"We feel strongly about taking care of those who protect and defend our freedom," says Frank Guidara, CEO of UNO Chicago Grill. "Sending 'a slice of home' for the Super Bowl is another way to say thanks. We're grateful for all they do."
The shipments go out Tuesday from New York. Their first stop will be Bahrain, where they will be split up and delivered by DHL Express and military vehicles to 38 forward operating bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and the Philippines.
Dubbed Operation Pizza Bowl, it is expected to be one of the largest pizza deliveries on Super Bowl Sunday.
Mike Taylor, the global senior manager for U.S. operations with DHL Express, has coordinated the pizza drop since the start.
"That's what I do, is handle the unique requirements
and logistical needs of moving things for the government," Taylor says. "What makes this different is that it's a perishable product going to the desert."
He says in order to preserve the pizzas, he has to figure in the temperature in the desert and calculate their route to the soldiers down to the second. …