IRVING, TEXAS — Hostess Brands, Inc. has named Lt. Colonel Charles “Buck” Bennett as the winner of the 2012 Wonder Bread Heroes program, which celebrates ordinary Americans making extraordinary contributions to their families, communities and country. Mr. Buck was selected from more than 2,000 nominations submitted as part of the program which, for the second year, benefits the United Service Organizations (U.S.O.) and its mission to lift the spirits of our nation’s troops and their families.
“As Americans celebrate the July 4 holiday, it’s a great time to thank our country’s everyday heroes for the positive impact they have on the people around them and their local communities,” said Stephanie Fletcher, brand manager for Hostess. “The Wonder Bread Heroes campaign gives us a chance to honor Americans like Buck Bennett while supporting the U.S.O.’s mission and the wonderful programs it offers.”
Mr. Bennett, who was nominated by his wife, Joni, was chosen “for his deep dedication to supporting active duty service men and women, veterans and military families,” said Hostess. According to Hostess, Mr. Bennett volunteers his time regularly for Gold Star Families and Wounded Warriors and provides personal financial assistance, counseling and employment placement assistance for veterans. He also gathers and solicits items for care packages that he ships personally to deployed soldiers overseas to provide them with a few comforts of home.
As the 2012 Wonder Bread Hero winner, Mr. Bennett was given the opportunity to direct the $50,000 donation in his name to four different U.S.O. programs: the United Through Reading Military Program, Operation Phone Home, Sesame Street/U.S.O. Experience Tour and the With You All the Way program. He has chosen to divide the funding equally among the programs, which all focus on either keeping families connected during deployment or helping children cope with the stresses of military life. Mr. Bennett also will receive $2,500 and a year’s supply of Wonder bread.
“Everything I do is not because I have to but because I want to,” Mr. Bennett said. “For someone to think what I’m doing is special humbles me greatly. It is especially touching that my wife thought so much of me to nominate me for this prestigious recognition. The U.S.O. has supported me on two deployments so I appreciate just how wonderful the organization is and am so grateful for this opportunity to give back thanks to Wonder bread.”
Two other people were selected as Wonder Bread Heroes honorable mentions: Michael Martin of Inola, Okla., and Jessica Boyd of Tinton Falls, N.J.
Mr. Martin is a volunteer firefighter in Inola. He was nominated by his two sons who are inspired by their dad’s ability to work full time, volunteer for the fire department and take care of their handicapped sister. Following his recent volunteer work with the victims of the Joplin, Mo., tornado, he also started a program to build storm shelters for the people in his local community.
Ms. Boyd is an eight-year veteran of the police force in her local community of Tinton Falls. She works to educate and protect children in her area through the department’s DARE program and recently rode 300 miles in the Police Unity Tour to raise money for families of fallen police officers. She also has carried the torch for the Special Olympics and volunteered for the “Dunk a Cop” dunk tank fundraiser for the Make a Wish Foundation.
Mr. Martin and Ms. Boyd each will receive $1,000 cash and a year’s supply of Wonder bread for their heroics and commitment to their communities.