Oklahoma has long been known as a cattle-rich state. Now, those same cattle are helping to feed Oklahoma's troops serving overseas.
George Huggins has spent most of his life on a cattle ranch. The only years that he didn't were the ones he spent in the service.
"I'm an old GI from World War Two," Huggins said. "I know how it is to be hungry, especially in the service and you're out on the front line."
His memories of WWII and his empathy for Oklahoma's troops gave Huggins an idea. How could he get food to our troops on a large scale? He hit up on the idea of beef sticks, something small and easy to carry, yet filled with enough protein for an active soldier.
Huggins called everyone he could think of that might be able to help. He knew that a project like this might take months, or even a year, but he wanted it to happen fast.
The "Beef 4 Battle" program came to fruition in just a little over four months.
"Everybody coordinated their efforts," said Jim Brooks. Brooks is manager of business and marketing services for the Robert M. Kerr Food and Ag Products Center in Stillwater. "Everyone just pitched in and tried to make this happen about as quick as they could."
Donated cattle from Oklahoma farmers are harvested and processed by the Chickasha Meat Company. The meat sticks are produced and distributed by the Schwab Meat Company.
"When those guys get hungry, they can reach in their backpack," said Huggins. "They don't have to be anywhere near a mess hall."
"Beef 4 Battle" has the attention of Oklahoma's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Major General Myles Deering, adjutant general of the Oklahoma National Guard, attended the program's kickoff celebration on Tuesday.
"This is something that each soldier's gonna put in their pocket," said Deering. "It's something that tells those soldiers that we as Oklahomans care for what they are doing."