USS Sioux City launch

Ship sponsor Mary Winnefeld christens the ship with a bottle of champagne during the launch and christening of the USS Sioux City, Littoral Combat Ship 11, on Jan. 30, 2016, at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wis.

Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal file

SIOUX CITY | Crew members from the USS Sioux City received a big surprise as they arrived in Sioux City Thursday. 

BPI President Eldon Roth announced the Dakota Dunes-based company will donate $100,000 to the USS Sioux City Commissioning Committee. Roth took the action after touring the commissioning site at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, last September.

In a release, Roth said it is important to support charities associated with military veterans.

“I have always been, and remain deeply appreciative of the men and women in uniform who take an oath to defend freedom around the world. Let this contribution signify how grateful my family, as well as our company, are to those courageous service members who sacrifice so much to protect American values and our way of life across the globe," he said.

Retired Rear Adm. Frank Thorp, chairman of the USS Sioux City Commissioning Committee, said he appreciated the gift, to keep boosting fundraising efforts toward the goal of $800,000 to $1 million to use toward commissioning and other costs.

 “This substantial gift will serve to cement the connection between this remarkable ship, her exceptional crew, and the extraordinary people of Sioux City. Not only will BPI’s generous contribution lay the foundation for the decades-long relationship between the ship and the namesake city, but it will also serve as a catalyst for our ongoing fundraising efforts," Thorp said.

A portion of the money will be used to build a Legacy Fund for educational expenses for USS Sioux City crew members. Some of the money will be allocated to cover costs associated with the ship’s commissioning, since federal funds can't be used for such activities.

The USS Sioux City was announced in early 2012. The Littoral Combat Ship will sail into ports around the world.

The USS Sioux City commissioning will take place at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, most likely in spring or early summer of 2018.

Siouxland Chamber President Chris McGowan praised the BPI donation, as more in the long-standing commitment to local and national philanthropy. 

“In addition to supporting our military, last month BPI announced their $10 million employee relief fund, the company recently spent time serving approximately 100,000 donated meals to those devastated by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and continue their generosity here in Siouxland,” McGowan said.

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County and education reporter

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