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On Feb. 1, Hooters started raising money for the cause through local charitable events as well as selling heart-shaped card cutouts in their 389 restaurants across the country.
Thomas J. Valentine, a Navy SEAL troop chief, was killed during a training exercise Feb. 13, 2008. He left behind his wife, Christina, a 15-year member of the Hooters family, and two young children. In honor of his sacrifice, Hooters established a fund in Valentine's name through Operation Homefront.
"The Valentine Fund is a tribute to all our service members and their families," says Amy Palmer, chief operating officer, Operation Homefront. "We are proud to be part of an effort that recognizes their sacrifices and provides a means to help them."
Last year when Valentine was killed, Hooters raised money to support Christina and presented her with a $100,000 check to go toward her children's education. The Valentine Fund is another opportunity for the company to stand behind those who serve and honor Tom's memory.
"Military families make daily sacrifices, the greatest of which is when a service member is killed," says Christina Valentine. "Through the Valentine Fund and the efforts of Operation Homefront, we can help Special Warfare families in all instances. The Valentine Fund not only honors Tom, an 18-year veteran of the Special Operations Warfare community, but all those who have given their lives and those who remain and continue to serve this great nation."
The donation drive will continue until April 2009. In addition to the Valentine Fund, Hooters and Operation Homefront will partner in various local efforts throughout the year in support of military personnel and their families.