CountryMark Fueling Freedom Events Raised more than $62K for Military Families
25 National Guard Family Readiness Groups in three states will benefit from this year's Fueling Freedom events held at CountryMark stations across the Midwest. Pictured here at White River Co-op CEO Ryan Priest, Secord Lieutenant Richard Francis, Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and Greene County Farmer Tom Nugent.
CountryMark’s Fueling Freedom events on June 22 raised more than $62,000 to support local National Guard Family Readiness Groups.
“This event was an opportunity for the community to come out and express their appreciation to local service men and women, and their families,” said CountryMark Vice President of Refining and Logistics Matt Smorch. "Military professionals, as well as their loved ones, make huge sacrifices on our behalf. Fueling Freedom provided a venue for many of us to say 'thank you'."
Some 39 CountryMark-branded fueling stations in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio participated in CountryMark’s Fueling Freedom program this year, where CountryMark and local branded dealers agreed to donate 50 cents for every gallon of fuel pumped to local National Guard Family Readiness Groups. This is the tenth year CountryMark and CountryMark branded dealers have hosted Fueling Freedom events. Sales this year were up 23 percent from last year’s Fueling Freedom results despite rain that fell across much of the Midwest that Friday afternoon.
The CountryMark station in Bloomfield Indiana had the highest growth in their Fueling Freedom sales of any of the participating stations. This station sold 5,788 gallons – a 146% increase in their Fueling Freedom sales from last year. This station was also responsible for bringing in the most donations – nearly $1,200 in the donation box for their local National Guard Family Readiness Group.
“We have a great community,” said Mike Riggins, White River Co-op Petroleum Department Manager. “They never fail to come out and support Fueling Freedom. We also had tremendous support from our employees and local National Guard Family Readiness Group. We worked hard, but had a lot of fun, too.”
During Fueling Freedom events, CountryMark employees and CountryMark branded dealers stood side-by-side with volunteers from local National Guard units to pump locally refined fuels for customers. In five hours, customers purchased 108,000 gallons of CountryMark fuel. Of the 39 participating CountryMark stations, the Mt. Carmel, Illinois, fuel station led with 6,123 gallons sold during their Fueling Freedom event. David South, Petroleum Department Manager for SynEnergy Partners, organized the Fueling Freedom efforts in Mt. Carmel.
“We could not have asked for better support from the Mt. Carmel community,” said South. “It rained off and on all day, and they kept coming. There were times during the day when we had long waits and our customers never left their places in line. That’s commitment and I’m glad our local National Guard Family Readiness Group got to see that.”
During Fueling Freedom, countless customers threw the change from their fuel purchases in donation boxes. In five hours, participating communities donated an additional $9,000 to support American troops and their families -- this was on top of the 50 cents per galllon that CountryMark and its branded dealers provided.
“It was one of those days that makes you proud to live in the Midwest,” said Brian Clayton, Ceres Solutions Vice President of Energy. “Seven of our CountryMark fueling stations participated in Fueling Freedom and these stations stayed busy all day long. We filled fire trucks, semis, ambulances, police cars, pick-up trucks and cars all afternoon long. We had customers that came back to our stations two and three times with different vehicles because they wanted to show their support for our local service men and women and their families. That is what is great about the Midwestern communities we serve.”
CountryMark branded dealers who participated in the Fueling Freedom events included: AgBest, Ceres Solutions, Co-Alliance, Harvest Land Co-op, Laughery Valley Co-op, Premier Companies, Shelby County Co-op, Superior Ag Resources, SynEnergy Partners, United Energy, Union County Co-op and White River Co-op.
Donations from each participating Fueling Freedom site were given to the National Guard Family Readiness Groups located closest to the participating fueling station. Family Readiness Groups help build National Guard unit morale, build unit retention and increase participation levels in family-related unit activities.