Why Mission BBQ Just Donated $500,000 To Honor Flight Network

When Mission BBQ first opened its doors on September 11, 2011, co-founders Bill Kraus and Steve Newton were well aware that it was the 10-year anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. In fact, it was intentional that the opening of their business would coincide with this tragic anniversary — because the untold truth of Mission BBQ is that it's not your average barbecue restaurant. As the name hints, the business is designed with a mission in mind, and that mission is to honor veterans, active-duty military members, firefighters, first responders, and more — all while serving up some tasty barbecue. Mission BBQ even placed 4th in Mashed's 12 barbecue chain restaurants ranked from worst to best.

Since it first opened, the company has donated more than $10 million to organizations like Wreaths Across America, the USO, the Navy Seal Foundation, and other places that support veterans and active-duty military (via Mission BBQ). Now, in honor of Armed Forces Day on May 21, 2022, Mission BBQ has announced that they made a half-million-dollar donation to the Honor Flight Network, made possible through sales of the restaurant chain's American Heroes cups (per Outsider).

What is Honor Flight Network?

The Honor Flight Network is an organization that was created to help veterans from around the country travel to Washington, DC, all expenses paid, to visit the war memorials there. The organization has flown 250,000 veterans out since 2005. Mission BBQ's donation will help HFN fly at least some of the 50,000 veterans on their waitlist to DC so they, too, can have the experience of visiting the memorials that were created in honor of their service and in honor of the sacrifices made by many of their fellow service members. It's a moving experience for many. As one World War II veteran, Daniel Griffiths, told InsideNova while on an Honor Flights trip to Washington DC, "I can't imagine this at all, even after hearing from other people that have been here. I had to experience it myself...it's just been great."

Not everyone can afford a flight to Washington, and the cost is doubled for veterans who have caregivers or guardians that need to travel with them. That's where HFN steps in, and what the Mission BBQ donation will help fund. In 2019 alone, Honor Flight Network flew 23,045 veterans and 18,384 guardians to DC. Matt Schuman, who works for Honor Flight Network, told Outsider that Mission BBQ's donation of $533,462 "is gonna be a large part of getting more veterans to Washington D.C. so we can honor them." When barbecue meets altruism, it's something to savor.