May 23, 2024  

Why PepsiCo military veterans are transporting an American flag across the U.S.
The company’s annual Rolling Remembrance relay has raised more than $2 million to fund scholarships for children who lost a parent in the line of duty.

Of all the routes Karl Dence has traveled as a Transport Driver for PepsiCo, the trip from Albany to Purchase, New York, this week might be the most significant. “I feel like it’s my calling,” Karl says. “It’s an honor to have been asked to participate in this experience for a second year.”

On Wednesday, Karl drove the final leg of PepsiCo’s Rolling Remembrance relay, the company’s annual event that pays tribute to military members who lost their lives, assists the families left behind, and recognizes the veterans who work for the company. He was one of 55 PepsiCo drivers, all veterans, who drove more than 14,000 miles from Seattle to Purchase. At each of the 61 stops along the route, they handed off an American flag that was flown in combat in Afghanistan.

It’s an honor to have been asked to participate in this experience.


The relay is in support of the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, which provides college scholarships to children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. PepsiCo has raised more than $2 million for the organization over the past nine years to benefit students like Sheridan Skurupey-McDonald, who shared her story at Wednesday’s ceremony.

“I remember being in college when PepsiCo first started this event, and I just thought it was so amazing to see how much attention they were bringing to this cause,” Sheridan says. When she was 5 years old, her father, Virginia National Guardsman Gregory Skurupey, was killed with 20 other servicemembers in a military transport plane crash near Unadilla, Georgia. Children of Fallen Patriots provided a scholarship that helped her complete her bachelor’s degree debt free.

Sheridan now works for Children of Fallen Patriots and is dedicated to finding other children in need of the support she received. “Losing a parent is traumatic, and it puts such a financial burden on families,” Sheridan says. “We want to provide hope that there is a better future, and for a lot of these kids, that hope is an education.”

Sheridan Skurupey-McDonald giving a speech

Sheridan Skurupey-McDonald of Children of Fallen Patriots.

Giving PepsiCo’s veteran drivers a way to connect with the scholarship recipients is part of what makes Rolling Remembrance so special for Jim Farrell, Sr. Vice President of Supply Chain for PepsiCo Beverages North America and Executive Sponsor of Valor, the PepsiCo employee resource group that supports veterans working for the company. “It really hits home for them that they’re doing something to help the people who sacrificed everything in the line of duty,” he says. “It’s a meaningful way to honor the fallen and say thank you.”

The opportunity to acknowledge military veterans and their families is what inspired Karl, who served eight years as a military policeman in the Army, to make this important trip. “I’ve gotten to meet a couple of family members at the events over the years and listen to their stories. Some knew their parents, and some didn’t,” Karl says. “I’ve lost some of my friends in the service, so anything I can do to help out is truly an honor.”