The Board of Governors Award honors visionary, long-standing relationships that creatively and effectively use corporate, non-profit and broadcast resources to showcase the power of broadcasting to advance a mission or message. The award is presented to a broadcaster, advertiser or company, as well as a non-profit organization, each of whom has contributed to forward a cause.
2012 Recipients: Serving Our Troops
In 2004, a group of Twin Cities business owners and civic leaders, along with Hubbard Broadcasting, wanted to find a unique and special way to show that Minnesota cared for our deployed Minnesota National Guard troops. By giving them a meal and a connection with their families who were thousands of miles away, they hoped it would ease some of their stress, worry, and hardship. The biggest obstacle: the soldiers were deployed in Kosovo – 5,000 miles away – and Skype and other technologies did not exist. That effort to connect soldiers and their families launched a partnership that continues to this day; a collaboration called, “Serving Our Troops.”
In the past eight years, they’ve raised enough resources to serve 75,000 home-cooked steaks to deployed troops and their families at nine events: from Minnesota to Mississippi, Kosovo to Kuwait, and in Iraq. Volunteers from the community and from businesses prepare the meals for the troops on-site wherever they’re deployed – often in war zones – and here on the home front for their families. Their efforts have connected soldiers with their families on their birthdays and with their newborn sons and daughters, often in emotional virtual reunions.
The logistical challenges have been monumental: food preparation and shipping; organizing such a massive gathering on two continents; raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for supplies; and building a complex communications network to connect soldiers with their families during the meals via satellite and online. No other group in the country has been able to match the scale or impact of this collaboration. Along with the steaks, over 20 million media impressions have been generated.
In 2009, “Serving Our Troops,” was the sole recipient of the National Guard Bureau’s “Civilian Award for Excellence,” the Guard’s highest honor for private support to citizen soldiers, airmen, and their families. In 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Minnesota to praise the “Serving Our Troops” partnership.