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Pa. Guard's 111th ATKW takes home honors, dough for Liberty USO

From right to left, Staff Sgt. Charlissa Adams, Master Sgt. Danielle Heidrick, Senior Airman Igor Karlov and Staff Sgt. Heikell Perez, all from the 111th Attack Wing at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., furiously assemble hoagies for the Liberty USO in an event hosted by Wawa Inc., in Cheltenham, Pa., Nov. 10, 2016. The Air Guard team raised $1,500 for the USO chapter that supports Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

From right to left, Staff Sgt. Charlissa Adams, Master Sgt. Danielle Heidrick, Senior Airman Igor Karlov and Staff Sgt. Heikell Perez, all from the 111th Attack Wing at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., furiously assemble hoagies for the Liberty USO in an event hosted by Wawa Inc., in Cheltenham, Pa., Nov. 10, 2016. The Air Guard team raised $1,500 for the USO chapter that supports Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

An Air National Guard team from the 111th Attack Wing at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., stands with the first-place trophy they won at a hoagie-building competition for the Liberty USO in an event hosted by Wawa Inc., in Cheltenham, Pa., Nov. 10, 2016. Wawa’s USO-supported hoagie building competitions have become a 111th ATKW morale and charitable staple for the past few years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

An Air National Guard team from the 111th Attack Wing at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., stands with the first-place trophy they won at a hoagie-building competition for the Liberty USO in an event hosted by Wawa Inc., in Cheltenham, Pa., Nov. 10, 2016. Wawa’s USO-supported hoagie building competitions have become a 111th ATKW morale and charitable staple for the past few years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- On Veterans Day eve, the 111th Attack Wing - via the Liberty USO - secured bragging rights and a $1,500 charitable donation during the Hoagies for Heroes hoagie-building contest supported by Wawa Inc., in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, Nov. 10.

The Army National Guard, as well as Pennsylvania's Cheltenham Police Department and Glenside Fire Company, faced off with the local Air Guard members who reigned supreme, garnering a monetary reward for the USO that serves Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

"Wawa [in conjunction with] the USO are two fantastic organizations that give a tremendous amount back to the military community," said Master Sgt. Danielle Heidrick, 201st Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) Squadron, Det. 1 commanders support staff member and the hoagie team lead.

Heidrick stated that Wawa's USO-supported hoagie-building competitions have become a 111th ATKW morale and charitable staple for the past few years. The events, often based around a military theme, serve to support the relationships between local service members, the community and charities.

"The USO has been partnered with Wawa for roughly a decade at this point," said Kate McCloud, USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (Liberty USO) director of advancement. "Wawa provides large support that, quite honestly, allows us to operate. Because of what they do, we are able to do what we do for the troops."

McCloud believes it's important for military members to understand the roles various organizations play in helping the USO achieve its objective.

"The entire mission of the USO is to provide care, comfort and support to military members and their families for the duration of their time in the military," she said. "So, it's good for the service members to understand how deeply rooted Wawa is with the USO mission. They are 100-percent supportive of the military in every way."

While charity and service are paramount, the 111th ATKW also embraces its fun and competitive spirit.

"The hoagie competition is a fun way to interact with the community," Heidrick said. "The event always brings out the best in everyone."

And having a multi-year winning streak enhances the enthusiasm that the Air Guard team brings to the altruistic event.

"The unit strategically assembles the perfect 'winning hoagie team' [for each contest]," said Heidrick, who was bestowed the moniker of "Hoagie 2" for her assignment as the Wing's hoagie competition leader. "The 111th Attack Wing has a long history of hoagie excellence -- again this team did not disappoint."