“Operation Pizza Surge,” will show appreciation and bring reminders of home to the men and women in uniform overseas, according to retired Master Sergeant Mark Evans of Elk Grove Village, IL. According to Evans, his 15-year-old son Kent asked in 2008 if there was a way to deliver freshly-frozen Chicago-style pizzas to servicemen and women stationed throughout Iraq in time for July Fourth Independence Day Celebrations. The initial effort required 2,000 pizzas and was extremely well received—so much so, that with the support of DHL, Evans was able to ship over 2,000 pizzas for the 2009 Super Bowl.
Enter Pizzas 4 Patriots, a non-profit organization, which is teaming up with global express delivery and logistics company DHL and Uno Chicago Grill, the inventor of deep-dish pizza, to dish out up to 28,000 pizzas to US servicemen and women throughout Iraq and Afghanistan in time for Independence Day, 2009.
To get the 28,000 perishable deep-dish pizzas delivered fresh to servicemen and women serving in extreme temperatures and in a hostile environment, Evans has once again teamed up with DHL to fill up an entire donated cargo jet with the ready-to-bake, deep-dish pizzas from UNO, which is celebrating sixty-five years since inventing Chicago’s original deep-dish pizza.
“DHL, which flies directly to many of the US bases in the Middle East, has been a wonderful partner since the beginning,” said Evans. “Time and again, DHL has graciously agreed to donate their shipping services to deliver a slice of home to our troops.”
Through the support of DHL, Operation Pizza Surge will be the world’s largest pizza party, according to the Guinness World Records. Thousands of pizzas, packaged in temperature-controlled containers, will be picked up at UNO’s facility in Brockton, MA and loaded onto trucks. DHL will fly the shipment from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York directly to the DHL hub in Bahrain. From there, DHL will work closely with the US military to ensure the Pizzas are delivered fresh to bases throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.
“As a retired member of the military, I appreciate what it means to receive such a special care package like this, and I thank UNO and DHL for bringing reminders of home to our US troops stationed thousands of miles away,” said Evans. “The reactions we have received from families, friends of the military and the troops themselves about this initiative have been heartwarming.”
DHL has been selected by the Department of Defense for service to numerous locations around the globe based on the extensive service capabilities and "first in market" approach provided in support of US servicemen and women. DHL was also the first international air express carrier to provide service to Iraq and Afghanistan, and operates the most extensive logistics service in the Middle East Region.
“As the specialists in international shipping, DHL is honored to leverage its global network and transport this shipment to lift the spirits of our servicemen and women based in the Middle East,” said Adrian Watts, managing director US Government Sales and Support for DHL Express. “Our partnership with Pizzas 4 Patriots is part of our ongoing efforts to support our troops, and honor our US servicemen and women.”
"UNO is honored to be a part of Operation Pizza Surge," said Frank Guidara, CEO, Uno Chicago Grill, and Vietnam Veteran. "We have tried for years, without success, to send pizzas to our servicemen and women overseas. This partnership with Ret. MSgt Evans, DHL and Pizzas 4 Patriots will finally allow us to accomplish that, and we are excited and proud."