This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HonoringOurHeroes #CollectiveBias

Honoring Our Heroes

I was honored when I was given the opportunity to talk about our nation’s heroes, and even more honored that that opportunity came from Kleenex® Brand and Kroger. There are over 2 million men and women currently serving in our military and 23 million veterans in our country today. I have allied with Kroger stores and Kleenex® Brand to celebrate our heroes with the #HonoringOurHeroes campaign. Both of these companies support our military and their families, which is very important to me. The Kroger Co. Family of Stores have raised $14 million since 2010 for The United Service Organizations Inc. and their programs. The USO is a nonprofit that has been providing vital services to soldiers and their families for the past 75 years, and Kroger has provided the USO its largest donation in their entire history. Awesome, right?

This makes it an obvious choice for me, the Army brat, to support them. Find out below how you can support our military, too. (And even win some prizes!)

My personal #HonoringOurHeroes story is about one very special hero: my dad. My dad is currently an active duty sergeant and has been proudly serving the United States Army since before I was born.

It’s nearly impossible to thank our servicemen and women for all that they do.

But I can certainly try.

Honoring Our Heroes

There are many definitions of a hero. My dad is certainly a hero to his soldiers. He would do anything for them, and he does. From putting his whole heart into training them, listening to them, and supporting them. He really cares, and it shows. When we lived in San Diego, his soldiers would stop by the house just to bring him ice cream and say hello. Everywhere my dad has been stationed, he has not only been respected, but befriended. He’s often had soldiers younger than me asking him to hang out, making me look like the uncool one in the family! He has never once in his life thought that he was better than anyone or looked down on anyone else. He treats everyone as equals, in both his professional and personal life. All of these points and more are just a few of the reasons why my dad was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

People are often surprised when I tell them that my dad is active duty and immediately ask, “how old is your dad?!” My dad is 55, but don’t be fooled. He often runs circles around soldiers half his age. Also, I’m pretty sure that if my dad had the chance to never retire, that he would. I’ve sincerely never met anyone that loves the military as much as he does. He truly feels at home there, he loves serving his country, and he feels this is his purpose. He is not just in the Army, the Army is in him.

after boot-camp, 1982

after boot-camp, 1982 (1)

With that being said, getting to this point was never an easy or smooth road. And it definitely did not lack sacrifice and years of hard work. He did not have the easiest of lives and he has had to work ten times as hard as your average person to get where he is today.

He still makes many, many sacrifices to serve our country. As I type this, my dad isn’t spending Father’s Day eating a steak like he should be, but sleeping in a tent out in a field for two weeks. (And sleeping on the ground isn’t exactly easy when you’re 55!, as I’m sure he would tell you.) He has also been stationed thousands of miles from his family for years at a time. And that family includes me.

But I will tell you that my dad has never once complained about any of this (okay, except maybe a little about his back from sleeping in a tent). He never complains; he only continues to work hard, be humble, and be grateful.

And, among many, many things, those are all things that I have learned from him. My dad may be a great solider, a great leader, and a great hero, but he is most importantly, to me, a great dad.

Honoring Our Heroes

My dad is a great dad for tons of reasons. He always worked hard to provide for our family, both financially and emotionally. He was always supportive and understanding. I’m sure you’ve developed a very masculine or a very serious vision of my dad from this story, but as his daughter, I’d like to shine light on the side of him that I appreciate the most.

I love that my dad is silly. And funny. And never takes life too seriously. I also love (especially being an only child) that my dad didn’t have a problem attending my ballet recitals, wearing fuzzy leopard robes with me, or ordering super girly, fruity drinks with me. I also love that he reminds me never to stop laughing or enjoying the simplest, silliest things in life.

PopCollage2

My dad is an American hero. But I will always picture my dad as not only that, but someone who can make me laugh when I am the saddest. Someone who loves his Corona beers, a good steak, and watching his favorite TV show (Magnum, P.I.) or his favorite old black and white movies (It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Lucky). Someone who talks through movies, is obsessed with Dr. Pepper, and does a good Godfather impression. Someone who would always have your back and do anything to help someone in need.

1 (3)

We salute you, Pop. From a grateful nation. From a grateful daughter.

Do you have a hero in your life? Share your story with us by using the hashtag #HonoringOurHeroes and you can be entered to win one of Kroger’s 13 giveaways with a prize valued at up to $100!

Even if you don’t know a serviceman or woman but still want to be involved, you can. Whenever you buy a Kleenex® Facial Tissue 4-pack bundle from your local Fred Meyer (or other Kroger store), Kleenex® Brand will donate one tissue pocket pack to the USO! Shop at Kroger and show your support for our country’s servicemen and women and our veterans.

Honoring our Heroes

Honoring Our Heroes

Honoring Our Heroes

I love shopping at my local Fred Meyer. It is incredibly convenient and you could literally get everything you need under one roof. (Need something from their massive organic/natural section? A bottle of wine? Kleenex? A couch, matching end table, and new piece of artwork?!) Their convenience, customer service, and initiatives such as #HonoringOurHeroes make me a loyal fan for life!

Check to see where the nearest Kroger Family of Stores near you is and be sure to share your hero story! I can’t wait to hear it!

To learn more about this initiative, write our servicemen and women a thank you message, and meet some more of our nation’s heroes, visit the Honoring Our Heroes website.

Thank you for stopping by! Please stay in touch. If you'd like, connect with P+P on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and e-mail. And, remember: you are worthy, and you deserve chocolate.