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PHILADELPHIA -- Pennsylvania-based convenience store chains Sheetz Inc. and Wawa Inc. will provide more than 5,000 lunches to attendees at the March 1 Commissioning Ceremony of the USS Somerset in Philadelphia. The ceremony will mark the ship's entrance into the naval fleet.
The box lunches will feature popular items from each company's menu and be available free of charge following the 11 a.m. ceremony. Guests will include nearly 2,000 members of the Somerset County community, 500 members of the ship’s family, 500 family members of those who were on United Flight 93, as well as local officials and leaders from Wawa, Pa.-based Wawa and Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz.
"This is an enormous enterprise that would not be possible without the support of such experienced companies in food preparation and service," said Thomas Metzger, president of the Philadelphia Council of the Navy League, which is the sponsor of the ceremony. "Funding for the ceremony is dependent on private donations and good corporate citizens like Wawa and Sheetz."
The USS Somerset is currently moored at Penn's Landing on the Delaware River waterfront, and commemorates Flight 93, which crashed in Somerset County after the crew and passengers thwarted a terrorist attack on Sept. 11. The vessel can carry up to 800 U.S. Marines and sailors.
“We at Sheetz are truly grateful to come together with Wawa in support of the USS Somerset Commissioning Ceremony. The entire Sheetz family is humbled by this extraordinary opportunity to honor the families of Flight 93 and recognize those who dedicate their lives to serving this great nation,” said Joe Sheetz, president and CEO of Sheetz Inc.
The USS Somerset incorporates a flight deck for helicopters and Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, in addition to a well deck for landing craft and amphibious vessels. The vessel joins the USS New York and USS Arlington as the third vessel to be named after the heroes of 9/11.
“On this solemn and extremely meaningful occasion, all of us at Wawa feel privileged to be a part of this ceremony, honoring those who serve our great nation and those who sacrificed during this tragic moment in our history,” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa’s president and CEO. “As a proud Pennsylvania-based company, we are honored to join together with Sheetz and pay tribute to these brave men and women of Flight 93. They will never be forgotten.”
Sheetz owns and operates 466 locations throughout Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and West Virginia. Wawa owns and operates more than 600 stores in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida.