Duke’s, maker of freshly-crafted, made-from-scratch smoked meats and BIGS, maker of premium seed snacks, visited Fort Hood on Nov. 17 as part of its military appreciation tour to express thanks for U.S. service men and women during the Thanksgiving holiday.

More than 2,500 service men, women and families received samples of BIGS seeds and Duke’s smoked meats, T-shirts and hats and enjoyed games and music.

Justin Havlick, president and founder of BIGS and Duke’s — headquartered out of Boulder, Colo. — was at the post for a “Day with the Duke” event, which the base won in a drawing at last year’s annual Army & Air Force Exchange Services seminar.

In addition to having fun and entertaining military personnel from the moment they arrived, Havlick signed and gave away merchandise, stocked shelves and cleaned bathrooms.

“Thanks to Duke’s for their support of the military and for spending the day with the soldiers at Fort Hood,” said Capt. Nate Shook. “We appreciate it.”

The event took place at Fort Hood’s HQ Shopette and was free and open to all military families.

The “A Day with the Duke” event concluded the “thank you” tour to dedicated service members. With stops at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill in Oklahoma and Fort Hood, nearly 4,000 service members received BIGS seeds and Duke’s smoked meats and products.

“It is an honor for us to give back to active-duty service members in this way and especially at this time of the year as we celebrate Veterans Day and prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday,” Havlick said. “We appreciate all of our troops who serve in the pursuit of freedom, and this is our way of thanking them for their commitment and service.”

Recently, BIGS announced that it is also donating 75,000 bags of seeds to the USO. The in-kind donation from BIGS honors the USO’s 75th anniversary and underscores the brand’s commitment to the men and women who serve our country. BIGS partnership with the USO this year included limited edition military appreciation camo sunflower seed bags sold by retailers around the United States and a donation of 75,000 bags of seeds to USO centers across the country.

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