Wawa Welcome America Philadelphia honors military, hometown heroes at annual Hoagie Day

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Elisbeth Ann Matulewicz
  • 111th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
     Wawa Welcome America Philadelphia honored soldiers and hometown heroes Jun. 29, 2011 during Hoagie Day held on Independence Mall, Philadelphia, Pa.  Welcome America is a 4th of July celebration that runs from Jun. 24 through Jul. 4. During those 11 days, a variety of fun free events occur around the city. This year's event focused on celebrating the men and women that keep our nation safe, honoring their service and the freedoms we enjoy.
     Wawa president and chief executive officer Howard Stoeckel and former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell presented a check for $20,000 to USO representative Joe Brooks, to sponsor 1,500 care packages that will be sent to the troops abroad.
     Rendell officially proclaimed Jun. 29 Hoagie Heritage Day. In 1992, Philadelphia Mayor Rendell proclaimed the hoagie the official sandwich of Philadelphia. This led to ten years of Hoagie Day events as part of the Welcome America festival.  A four and a half ton hoagie was served to the event attendees and 5,000 hoagies were sent to the Philabundance food bank.
     Following the check presentation, a hoagie building contest ensued between members of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and Army National Guard.  Then, the Philadelphia Police Department and Commissioner Charles Ramsey battled the Philadelphia Fire Department and Commissioner Lloyd Akers.
     Each contest lasted only three minutes. The Air National Guard and Philadelphia Police Department emerged victorious. Members of the Air National Guard team (shown above) were: Senior Master Sgt. John Heidrick (270th EIS), Tech. Sgt. Matthew Long (270th EIS), Senior Airman Mark Wojdylo (270th EIS), Staff Sgt. Danielle Heidrick (AFFOR), Tech. Sgt. Kristen Luciano (AFFOR), and Tech. Sgt. Allison Shick (111th FW).
     The event concluded with a Wawa Associate Talent Contest where the top 12 finalists competed for best Wawa associate solo singer. WMMR radio host Preston Elliot hosted the event.