Jim Haslam called it “a cause that is dear to my heart” in announcing a major gift to the American Heart Association at the Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville on Wednesday.
Haslam said he and other family members have had heart health concerns. So, he happily supported the work of Pilot Flying J president Ken Parent and company associates across the country who got behind the AHA’s “Life Is Why We Give” campaign during February. Their total of $981,000 put Pilot among the top five national fundraisers for the campaign.
“This is a proud moment for our company,” said Parent, who also serves on the board of the American Heart Association. “This gift will make an impact on many, many lives.”
Aaron Bishop, senior vice president of development for the AHA’s Greater Southeast Affiliate, listed the projects of the national organization, adding, “Our work would not be possible without the generous support of committed companies like these.” Bishop called the Pilot campaign, “one of the most successful we’ve had.”
Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers in North America with more than 750 retail locations in 44 states. It is ranked No. 15 on Forbes’ list of America’s largest private companies.
During February, fundraising initiatives included:
- The sale of special AHA red 16-ounce hot beverage cups with 10 cents going to AHA and the company matching each 10-cent donation;
- The sale of paper heart icons as well as online donations through the Pilot Flying J website;
- The ability for customers to round-up their purchases to the nearest whole dollar to donate the difference;
- A partnership with Nestle Waters for a Feb. 14 2-for$2 water promotion, contributing $1 from each purchase for a $10,000 donation.