Story time.

This year we chose the Veterans Leadership Program (VLP) as ProFromGo’s charity focus for our annual company holiday party.

We reached out to VLP regarding their current needs and were advised cash donations are always preferred, but canned or portable protein such as tuna are also quite helpful for local homeless veterans.

This sparked a little idea. Quite a long time ago I played some college ice hockey at Pitt with a guy named Andy Mecs. Well, it turns out Andy is not only an amazingly friendly and helpful guy, but he’s also worked his way up the food chain (no pun intended) to become the current Vice President of Marketing and Innovation at StarKist. Heard of them? They sell tuna fish.

Andy likes hockey. I like hockey. Andy likes freedom and therefore, veterans. I like freedom AND veterans. Andy has lots of tuna fish. I know Andy. I know a local veteran-focused program that NEEDS lots of tuna fish. Easy math, right?

Don’t ask me how much time I spent digging through ancient files to find this doozie, but here’s a visual for you. Here’s a look at the 1999 Pitt men’s ice hockey team. I’m pictured off to the left in the sling. I had an ouchie about halfway through my first and only season on this squad. Andy is pictured in the back center donning the “A” on his chest. I’m unsure of who took this photo or I’d credit the photographer (and ask them for a better quality version of it, sorry it’s all I got):

Pitt Hockey Team 1999 | ProFromGo Internet Marketing Owner & CEO Chris Vendilli third from the left with baggy jeans and his arm in a sling

So I hit up my old hockey pal Andy and told him a little bit about our holiday party and VLP’s current needs. Andy put me in touch with his corporate giving team and agreed it would be an awesome thing for StarKist to support.

Long story short (too late, I guess), a few phone calls, emails and text messages was all it took to get Andy and the great folks at StarKist to donate 200 cases of tuna to the VLP. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT I SAID TWO HUNDRED CASES.

Every time I opened the email thread to help facilitate the introduction and shipment from StarKist directly to VLP, I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear.

Thank you ANDY MECS. Thank YOU STARKIST. Thank you VLP.

My point in this post isn’t to brag or boast. StarKist did all the work and dug into their pockets to support a great cause. What I hope you get out of this story is to never underestimate the value of a friend or a relationship, and don’t forget the reasons for the seasons.

November and December are the seasons for giving, thankfulness and gratitude.

Our holiday party hasn’t even happened yet, but thanks to Andy and the StarKist crew, our selected charity is going to get their hands on a lot of food that will have a direct impact on local veterans who have landed on hard times.

Donate some time, cash in a chip with an old friend or relationship if possible, and do something nice for someone or some organization you align with this holiday season.

If you’re not sure who or how to help, feel free to support VLP.

Details to follow for our annual holiday party. It’s usually pretty low-key, but if you’d like details and to stop by for this year’s festivities, contact us and we’ll put you on our “nice” list and send you the deets.

Please note: We’re stoked about this year’s charity, and we want you to be, too. If you’re attending our party, please bring cash or check made out to VLP OR a canned or portable protein product (that will go to feed local homeless veterans) as per VLP’s needs this holiday season.

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