Burger King franchisees in Hampton Roads, Virginia donated $50,000, an entire day’s profits, to families who lost loved ones in the USS Cole bombing. Locals were encouraged by the media to patronize their neighborhood Burger King on October 20, and did just that. “We received tremendous support from the community,” said Larry Cimmaursit of Virginia Cimm’s, Inc., owner of 27 Burger King restaurants in the Norfolk area. Cimmarusti and the other participating franchisees of Burger King are asking other businesses in the community to match the funds that they were able to raise. Net proceeds will be donated to the Navy Relief Society.
“This is the time for all Burger King franchiseees to come together and support the families of the sailors,” said Cimmarusti. “All of us in Hampton Roads area were stricken by the loss of our friends and family members who lost their lives while serving their country.” Cimmarusti called together an impromtu meeting of area Burger King representatives shortly after the news to organize the drive.
Hampton Roads encompases the cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, and Portsmouth. It is home to the Norfolk Naval Base, one of the largest in the world. Just across the James River is the Newport News Naval Shipyard, where huge destoyers, battleships, and aircraft carriers can be seen undergoing repair and in various stages of construction. Thousands of Navy families and personnel live on the base and in surrounding areas.
The Norfolk-based USS Cole was bombed on October 17 while on patrol in the Middle East. Seventeen soldiers were killed in the attack.