Veteran Deploys Pizzas To U.S. Troops Overseas On Super Bowl Sunday

(CBS) — The mission is called Operation Pizza Bowl.

It’s the latest effort by a local charity to cheer up troops in Afghanistan on Super Bowl Sunday.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.

For many, it wouldn’t be Super Bowl Sunday without pizza.

For retired Air Force Master Sgt. Mark Evans, it wouldn’t be Super Bowl Sunday without getting pizza to troops overseas.

“They’re in a combat zone, and you know what: They’re thinking of home,” Evans says. “My goal now is to put a smile on everybody’s face.”

He is the force behind the non-profit Pizzas4Patriots, now in its 9th year.

Kozlov first introduced viewers to Evans and his son, who actually came up with the idea as a teenager. It has taken off since. Evans says almost 170,000 pizzas have been shipped across the Atlantic.

Eight hundred more Pizzeria Uno pies are heading to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan for this Sunday’s kickoff.

Air Force Reserve Captain Tommy Holewinski would know, having gotten them, himself.

“The pizza is a big reminder of that life you left behind,” he says.

He recalls sharing pizzas with some Marines on base. They cooked the half-baked pies by putting them on top of a Humvee hood and revving the engine.

Donations fuel this mission. Patriotism sustains it.

Evans never imagined he’d still be doing it after all these years.

“But one miracle after another just kept coming, and it was like I guess this is my next life: pizza delivery guy,” he says.

The group also gives pizzas to veteran’s hospitals around the country.

Evans says it’s just another way, to pay it forward.

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