Astros, Budweiser support military families

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By Rachel Frey

Ginger Gilbert heard a knock on her door on November 27, 2006, that changed her life. She was notified that her husband, Major Troy Gilbert, had crashed his F-16 while supporting ground combat operations northwest of Baghdad.  Just a few days later, his death was confirmed. He left behind not only his wife, but also five children under the age of nine.

Many people came together to support her family and help them achieve the dreams she and Troy had for their children. Folds of Honor helped support the family by providing post-secondary educational scholarships to all of their children.

With so many deserving families like the Gilberts, the Astros and Budweiser have announced a new partnership to benefit Folds of Honor. At a press conference on Tuesday, June 7, Silver Eagle Distributors President and CEO John Nau, Astros Chairman and CEO Drayton McLane, Astros General Manager Ed Wade, along with Ginger Gilbert unveiled the “Here’s to the Heroes” program.

From Memorial Day through July 10, Budweiser cans and cases will feature patriotic packaging and a portion of each sale will be donated by Budweiser to Folds of Honor. Silver Eagle Distributors will match this amount. Additionally, $100 will be donated by Budweiser for each home run hit in Minute Maid Park. Silver Eagle Distributors will donate $100 for each Astros home run. Also, be on the lookout on Flag Day, June 14, because Budweiser will visit area bars and restaurants to share Folds of Honor’s mission and treat consumers to a Budweiser.

“Each dollar donated is a separate thank you note to a family,” Ginger said.

The Astros have a long history of involvement with active and retired military. Once a month, “Astros on the Home Front” welcomes several military families with deployed loved ones to batting practice and the game. At each Sunday home game, the “Home Sweet Home” program, which is sponsored by Budweiser, welcomes a small group of active, recently returned military personnel to watch a game in a suite. An Astros player meets each group, and the groups are introduced to the crowd just before “God Bless America” is sung in the seventh inning. Drayton recalled the team’s visits to Walter Reed Hospital to visit the wounded soldiers each time they play the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.

“We can never get desensitized to the fact that it’s not only about the individual — it’s about the family they left behind,” Ed said. “It’s up to us to not just say ‘It’s a tragedy,’ It’s up to us to step up and do what we can to help.”

Rachel Frey is the Social Media and Broadcasting Intern for the Houston Astros. She studies Public Relations at The University of Texas at Austin, where she spends most of her time attending Texas Football & Baseball games. Connect with Rachel on her Twitter account: @RachelFrey or on her MLBlog, A Temporary Perspective.

1 Comment

I am extremely proud of my team at this time. As a 40 yr Astro fan from my growing up years in northwest Houston & being from a heavily military family I’m in wholehearted support of their efforts to honor & relieve some of the issues facing these families. God bless you all for this & most of all-hoorah to these families.

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