COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine, and PERRY HALL, Md. — Wreaths Across America (WAA) and MISSION BBQ are kicking off the “American Heroes Cup” campaign to raise funds to sponsor veterans’ wreaths, which will be placed on headstones during the 2024 National Wreaths Across America Day events.
Starting on Sunday, Nov. 12, through the end of 2023, for every American Heroes Cup purchased at any of MISSION BBQ’s 131 locations for $4.99, $2 will be donated to WAA to sponsor veterans’ wreaths, according to a news release.
In 2022, MISSION BBQ customers raised $369,590 for WAA through its American Heroes Cup campaign, sponsoring the placement of more than 24,600 veterans’ wreaths in memory of our nation’s servicemembers. These wreaths will be placed by volunteers at more than 90 participating locations this year on National Wreaths Across America Day, Saturday, Dec. 16.
To celebrate the start of this annual campaign, MISSION BBQ’s Perry Hall restaurant, located at 4132 East Joppa Rd., Nottingham, Maryland., will host the WAA Mobile Education Exhibit for a free public event from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 13. The exhibit serves as a mobile museum, educating visitors about the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes and serving as an official ‘welcome home’ station for our nation’s Vietnam veterans.
“We owe everything to our nation’s veterans, who have risked all that a person can to defend and protect this country,” said Bill Kraus, co-founder of MISSION BBQ. “It’s an honor to support Wreaths Across America in remembering the fallen and thanking military families for their sacrifices.”
Bill Kraus and Steve Newton opened the first MISSION BBQ restaurant in a Baltimore suburb in 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
“In opening the restaurant, they sought to serve, honor and thank American heroes for their sacrifices and service by donating a significant portion of the restaurant’s profits to the community’s military nonprofit groups and charity organizations that support police officers and firefighters,” the news release stated. “Since its founding in 2011, MISSION BBQ has opened 130 additional locations in 19 states.”
WAA is a national nonprofit organization “whose yearlong mission is to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach the next generation the value of freedom. Sponsoring and placing veterans’ wreaths in nearly 4,000 participating locations is one way for communities to come together to remember, honor and teach,” according to the news release.
“MISSION BBQ demonstrates the WAA mission in how they conduct business in the communities they serve,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of WAA. “Sharing stories of American heroes, treating our nation’s veterans with the dignity and respect they deserve, while teaching the next generation, every day. We are honored to be a program worthy of their support and grateful for their customers who continue to live this mission in their communities nationwide.”
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.