Pepsi honors Guard

Published 10:00 pm Monday, October 6, 2008

By By Chandler Myers
Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Atmore as well as other Pepsi Bottling Companies around the state will honor its employees that serve in the Alabama National Guard today at the running of the Amp 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Sergeants Richard Stuckey and Daniel Harris of Atmore’s 711 Alabama National Guard Unit are employed by Pepsi of Atmore and will be two of the grand marshals at today’s NASCAR Race and will get to participate in other events such as the driver and owner’s meeting.
Hooper Matthews III, president of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Atmore, said the idea came to him after his company won a sales award, which won them a trip to the Daytona 500.
Matthews added that during this trip he came up with the idea of honoring his employees that served in the National Guard and spoke to Ralph Santana, vice president of sports, media and interactive marketing for Pepsi, about this idea.
Sgt. Stuckey, 46, has been in the National Guard for 23 years and spent 12 of those years on active duty.
Stuckey said he is a Jeff Gordon fan and really hopes to meet his favorite driver. He added that there is just one thing he wants to tell Gordon if he gets a chance to speak with him.
Sgt. Harris, 25, enlisted in the National Guard at the age of 17 and served a 13-month tour in Iraq as a radio and communications specialist, but is now a supply specialist.. He has been employed by Pepsi of Atmore for the last five years as a pre-salesman.
Harris said he is a “die-hard” race fan and enjoys any visit to Talladega he gets. He added that he is looking forward to the whole experience of being a grand marshal.
During his 13-month tour, Harris served at three different stations declared imminent danger zones including Camp Babylon (7), Camp Kalsu (4) and Camp Dinanya (2). He received during his tour the National Defense service medal, a War on Terrorism expeditionary medal and a War on Terrorism service medal and an Armed Forces medal.
Harris said he loves being in the Guard and would not change his decision to join.
Stuckey has been activated for natonal service on two occasions and served following the terroist attacks of Sept. 11. In 2007, he was activated for a tour in Iraq and served almost a year in an imminent danger zone. He has also been activated six times by the state and served in Brewton after the 1998 flood, aided in hurricane relief following Hurricanes, Katrina, Ivan, Rita and Dennis.
Stuckey has been honored with several honors and medals during his time in the Guard. These honors include, an army commendation medal, Iraq Campaign medal
Matthews said Pepsi of Atmore is proud to have Stuckey and Harris as employees.

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