On Memorial Day weekend in 1988, Rolling Thunder held a gathering and march in Washington, D.C. More than 2,500 motorcycles from all over the country converged into the city to demand from governmental leaders a full accounting of all POW/MIAs.
Since that moment, and for over 30 years, Rolling Thunder, Inc., has kept our nation focused on fulfilling one of our most sacred promises — to never leave a service member behind. Millions of riders and spectators have called our attention to the stories of those imprisoned or who have gone missing in action while serving overseas. For over three decades, Rolling Thunder, Inc.’s trademark roar has served as an annual reminder that we each have a role to play in supporting those who wear a military uniform.
Like all who call Washington, D.C., home, our team at Giant Food eagerly awaits the unmistakable rumblings of Rolling Thunder, Inc., every year. We are proud to see the groups of riders from across the country rolling through our neighborhoods. And we watch in awe at the endless stream of motorcycles that flood the District on Memorial Day weekend. Each year, we are left inspired to carry forward the spirit of the event by joining our customers in supporting causes that benefit those who serve.
In our 82-year history, Giant Food has grown, evolved and changed with the Greater Washington, D.C., area. More than a grocer, we strive to be a better neighbor by building bridges with our community to help address the needs of our customers in the areas we serve. And one of the most important communities in the Greater Washington, D.C., region is our military. Supporting the military is one of Giant’s four major pillars, along with hunger relief; supporting health and wellness initiatives, such as pediatric cancer; and educating our youth. To us, being a better neighbor means finding different ways to support our military members and their families. This integral support starts at home — in our communities, in our schools, and, we hope, at a Giant Food store.
Our commitment to supporting our nation’s military begins with our employees. We are fortunate to have a team of employees across our operating region that make supporting military members, their families, and veterans, a company priority. Members of Giant’s internal Veterans Business Resource Group leverage Giant’s competencies in education, assistance programs and workforce development to provide a robust framework that supports our troops and their families, overcoming their challenging transition to civilian life.
This includes being an employer of choice for veterans, who bring a wide variety of skills and a unique perspective to our team. We continuously look for opportunities to partner with organizations and supplement their work, and through those partnerships and collaborations, we are able to celebrate the work of others who support our military.
Since 2011, Giant has grown our partnership with the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore, the largest chapter of the USO, a nonprofit that has provided help to over 10 million military service members and their families. We are extremely proud to be a partner with an organization that provides services to the nearly 300,000 military members and their families living in the region and the 150,000 who travel through Washington, D.C. The USO has created a critical bridge between Americans and their military service members — a mission that continues to be critically important today, as many service members are deployed overseas.
In September 2017, Giant presented a grant to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) through Giant’s Our Family Foundation. We were inspired by TAPS’ mission to “offer compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in our Armed Forces.” It is organizations like TAPS — dedicated to helping in the healing process and where family members and friends begin to rediscover peace and solace — that make our efforts even more important. We are honored to continue our partnership with TAPS because of the unyielding support it provides those who are grieving.
Since 1936, Giant Food has been the grocer of choice for many military members and their families. We know that they are the backbone of not just the Washington, D.C., community but the nation. Which is why we want to thank Rolling Thunder, Inc., for their tremendous support for the military community.
• Rolling Thunder, Inc., has not only become an institution but a symbol of military solidarity. Their roaring parade serves as a somber reminder of those we have lost in service, those who are protecting our freedoms today, and those who have not yet joined but who will one day represent this great nation through their military service.