NWA doubles down on support of Warriors for Freedom

ORLANDO, FL — Those in attendance at the 2019 National Watermelon Association convention on the Big Island of Hawaii heard the compelling story of retired Major Ed Pulido, who spoke of the combat injury that cost him his left leg and the ensuing mental health struggles he endured as a result.

Major Ed, as he is commonly known, was able to overcome many of the challenges and felt obliged to pay it forward and help other veterans facing mental health issues. As such, he formed the Warriors for Freedom Foundation, whose mission is to connect service members, veterans and their families with resources needed to become united with their communities again.PulidoMorganMorrisseyMajor Ed Pulido and Kris Morgan joined NWA Executive Director Bob Morrissey on stage Feb. 21 during the 106th annual National Watermelon Association convention in Orlando, FL, to discuss their efforts to help veterans facing mental health issues. Photo by John Groh.

Major Ed's story resonated with NWA members at the 2019 convention, and approximately $45,000 was raised to benefit Warriors for Freedom. At the behest of his friend, NWA Executive Director Bob Morrissey, Major Ed reprised his role as a featured speaker at the 2020 NWA convention, here, and this time was joined by fellow veteran Kris Morgan, who was also injured in combat and who credits Major Ed for saving his life following a suicide attempt.

Together, Major Ed and Morgan, who was accompanied by his service dog, Andi, took the stage with Morrissey on Feb. 21 to talk about overcoming their struggles and what they are now doing to help other veterans.

While Major Ed travels the country to raise awareness and funds to benefit veterans, Morgan handcrafts wooden American flags and raises money for his Flags 4 Veterans Foundation to support veterans' causes.

Morrissey said he was proud of the fundraising effort at last year's convention, but he knew his watermelon family could step it up, and so he set a goal of doubling the total raised last year.

With the help of the inspiring stories of Major Ed and Nelson, who donated several of his flags to the NWA's annual auction, the watermelon industry responded and more than $100,000 was raised to benefit the Warriors for Freedom Foundation.

Morrissey announced the total on Feb. 22 during his State of the Industry Address, which prompted a standing ovation from the capacity crowd.

Students gain real world experience thanks to L&M internships
The future of the produce industry will depend largely on new people being introduced to the field, which is why L&M Cos. offers internships based on seasonal needs throughout the L&M farms, warehouses and sales teams. “Intern programs in fresh produce are great exposure for young people to be a part of a vital industry,” Read More ...
New Whole Foods Market features 75 local growers
Whole Foods Market recently opened a new 35,000-square-foot store in East Austin, TX. Special features of the new East Austin store include: Produce department offering a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including selections from about 75 local growers throughout the year including fresh flowers, peaches and Read More ...
Retailer announces plans to rebuild
CUB and its franchise partner Jerry’s Foods announced its commitment to the Minneapolis community to rebuild its Broadway Avenue and Lake Street stores, both of which are owned by Jerry’s Foods. CUB also announced that while those two locations remain closed, CUB plans to open temporary community stores at each location to Read More ...
Sun World takes firm stance on IP rights breach
California-based variety development and licensing company Sun World International LLC has reached settlement of a dispute with a prominent Australian table grape producer (and associated entities) within the Sunraysia region. This follows breaches of Sun World’s intellectual property and contractual rights discovered Read More ...
Fall Creek names regional director for Mexico
Fall Creek Farm & Nursery Inc., a global blueberry breeding and nursery company, has announced that Alberto Medina-Mora has joined the company as regional director for Mexico. Most recently, Medina-Mora served as senior director of development and innovation at NatureSweet Mexico, a vertically integrated tomato grower, Read More ...
Big Y exec breaks new ground
Theresa A. Jasmin has joined Big Y Foods as chief financial officer following the recent retirement of William T. Mahoney. She is responsible for the company’s strategic planning, finance, accounting, treasury and tax functions. As a senior member of the executive team, she reports to Charles L. D’Amour, president and CEO along with Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse