The team from the Fed Beef plant in Grand Island, NE, continues to support a noble cause to honor the Veterans of the Hall County. Since 2012, the facility helps the community veterans’ leaders to make the Hero Flight program a reality.
The plant’s support started with monthly burger donations for fundraising events, and later turned into prime rib dinners – both events held by the Hall County Hero Flight program at the United Veterans Club to raise money to take the local Veterans to an honoring trip to DC, where they get to see war memorials and monuments.
In total, there have been ten flights taking around 800 veterans and their spouses from Hall County and surrounding counties to DC. “Our trips are different because it goes for three days, so they have enough time to see all the memorials and monuments – typical flights around the country are just one day,” said Justin Bstandig, Grand Island HR Director and Hero Flight Board Member.
The Hero Flight have currently an eight-month waiting list for the veterans to go on this trip. “GI support has made a huge impact not just on the veterans, but the entire community. Without our help, they wouldn’t be able to plan all those trips. They’re all very grateful for what JBS has done to help our veterans.”
Bstandig has been part of the Hero Flight program by helping to organize the trip to DC and also helping the veterans in wheel chair and with difficulty to move. “I would say that I really did not understand the impact until I went on my first trip,” he said. After the first flight, the Grand Island team received lots of appreciation letters from veterans and their spouses, and good feedback from the community. “The community took notice that JBS USA cares about them, and that’s when I realized that this was a huge deal,” Bstandig said.
The facility come up with about 50% of the funding for the trip, just by donating meat, and this support changed completely the Grand Island plant’s image and reputation with the community. “It’s amazing to see how the community perception about JBS USA changed over the past eight years. Now they see the company as a great corporate citizen,” Bstandig said.
“Without JBS USA, the Hero Flight program would not have been possible. We are very thankful for everything JBS USA does to support our community and appreciate our Veterans for their service to our country,” said Don Shuda, Hall County Hero Flight Chairman.
The Hero Flight is a chance to give back to the veterans and make an impact in their lives. “On the last trip, I helped one of the veterans, Ernest Hulinsky by pushing his wheel chair around our tour in DC. Because of this he kept calling me his hero for taking care of him and his wife, and I said: ‘no Sir, you are the hero’. These moments are just priceless.”