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'Red Bull' troops to enjoy virtual dinner with their families today

Active duty members of the Minnesota National Guard in Kuwait will get a taste of home today, Saturday, through a virtual dinner with their families even though they are thousands of miles apart.

A team of 50 Minnesota volunteers will travel to military bases in Kuwait with thousands of steaks, while another group of volunteers serve the same dinner to thousands of Minnesota military families at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. They will share an intercontinental steak dinner through live video streaming sponsored by Serving Our Troops and its key partners, Delta Air Lines, RBC, HMS Host, Hubbard Broadcasting, and AT&T.

After successfully serving more than 60,000 steak dinners through eight "special missions," Serving Our Troops is again bringing together thousands of Minnesota military families to show thanks and support for the sacrifices made by the troops and their families.

"Minnesota's National Guard is known around the world, not just for the quality and skills of the troops, but for the overwhelming support they receive from their family, friends, and the community," said Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Olson, director of public affairs for the Minnesota National Guard. "The message of support sent through these steak dinners is uniquely Minnesotan and has a real tangible, positive impact on our troops serving overseas."

"Executing a large-scale production of steak dinners is the easy part" said Pat Harris, the coordinator of Serving Our Troops. "Our friends at RBC, HMS Host, Delta Air Lines, Hubbard Broadcasting, AT&T, and all our other sponsors make it possible for us to unite the troops with their families and friends through live video - a connection that goes beyond words for these separated families. The contributions of money, time, people and resources give Minnesota's message of appreciation the power to reach families wherever they are."

"Minnesota has an exemplary history of civic leadership that makes projects like Serving Our Troops possible," said Bill Lentsch, Delta Air Lines senior vice president. "What started out as just an idea among friends has been transformed into an amazing way to show support for Minnesota National Guard members and their families. We are honored again to help Serving Our Troops bring this special message of thanks to troops and their families."

"We are proud to be a partner with Serving Our Troops and to have the chance to be part of this event," said Bob Bass, president of AT&T Minnesota. "These families make a sacrifice by answering the call to serve. This is our chance to show how much we appreciate what they are doing and to give these families a chance to share some special time together. "

The 2,700 men and women of the 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division - known as the Red Bulls - make up the largest deployment of the Minnesota National Guard since World War II. Representing more than 500 communities statewide, the Red Bulls have been stationed in Kuwait since July 2011 and are executing a year-long military assignment that includes convoy security, route protection, and base defense in support of Operation New Dawn.