Discover and Operation Homefront Reunite Military Family
Mom Returns From Afghanistan to Surprise Her Children at Six Flags St. Louis
ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Discover and Operation Homefront have teamed up to reunite a U.S. military family, the Ericksons, at Six Flags St. Louis in Missouri. Army National Guard Sgt. Ashley Erickson surprised her three children, Parris, Nova and Evan, at a special Six Flags ceremony after returning from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan.
As a way to show gratitude for military service members, Discover flew Sgt. Erickson's husband, Cpl. Maurice Erickson, and their three children from Ft. Stewart Georgia to Six Flags St. Louis for an all-expense paid VIP experience. The surprise homecoming was planned to coincide with the theme park's celebratory Salute to Heroes event that featured a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress and a TBF Avenger aircraft fly-over as a salute to all active and veteran military service members. Discover employees who are veteran service members acted as greeters for the family and other service members entering the park for the day.
"My husband and I are ecstatic," said Sgt. Erickson. "This is a once in a lifetime experience, to have Operation Homefront and Discover do this for us is like nothing I could have ever imagined. Thank you Operation Homefront and Discover for giving my family this opportunity."
Today's experience was special to the Ericksons because Maurice leaves in 16 days for a one-year remote tour in Korea.
"This reunion created a lifetime of memories for the Ericksons and we are incredibly thankful, and honored, to have been able to make this powerful connection happen for them," said Laura Gingiss, Discover spokeswoman. "The Ericksons are heroes who truly deserved every second of this day and we wouldn't have been able to make this happen if it wasn't for the help and support of our partners, Operation Homefront and Six Flags."
Operation Homefront has been a Cashback Bonus charitable partner with Discover for more than five years. To date, more than $300,000 has been donated to Operation Homefront by Discover and its cardmembers. Through the program, Discover cardmembers may designate their Cashback Bonus to Operation Homefront starting at a donation of $20. In conjunction with today's surprise homecoming event, Discover will be donating up to $10,000 to Operation Homefront on a national level and up to $5,000 to the organization's Kansas-Missouri Field Office.
"Discover and its cardmembers have been steadfast supporters of our Armed Forces," said Tim Farrell, Chief Operating Officer for Operation Homefront. "Today's reunion for the Erickson family is a very concrete and personal demonstration of that support, and we're grateful to Discover and Six Flags for helping us celebrate America's military families."
"It is a privilege for Six Flags St. Louis to recognize the men and women who serve our country each year during our Salute to Heroes event," stated Dave Roemer, Six Flags St. Louis park president. "We are so very pleased to partner with Discover and Operation Homefront to reunite this military family in a surprise homecoming. It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to give back to those who give so much to our country."
Discover Financial Services (NYS: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company operates the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers home loans, private student loans, personal loans, checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its direct banking business. Its payment businesses consist of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
About Operation Homefront
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has met more than 750,000 needs of military families since its inception in 2002. A four-star rated charity by watchdog Charity Navigator, nationally 95 percent of total revenue donated to Operation Homefront goes directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.
About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with $1.1 billion in revenue and 18 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For more than 50 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions including up-close animal encounters, Fright Fest® and Holiday in the Park®. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com.
Katie Henry, 224-405-4437
Aaron Taylor, 202-744-1326
Six Flags St. Louis
Elizabeth G. Gotway, 636-938-5300, Ext. 328
KEYWORDS: United States North America Illinois Missouri
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