EAGAN, Minn. — Former Vikings All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson ventured to Kuwait over the Memorial Day weekend to help Serving Our Troops cook steaks for 4,500 soldiers.
It was the first trip to the Middle East for Hutchinson, but it was also deeply personal because his father served in the Marines.
"Coming from a military family, this is the first time I've had an opportunity to go overseas," Hutchinson explained from Camp Arifjan. "I've visited a couple of bases stateside, but this is the first time to go overseas and see the troops in the field when they're at work.
"For us to come over here and provide them with a home-cooked meal, so to speak, give them a little break from reality, hear some music and eat a good a meal, it's the very least we can do," he added.
Hutchinson, who started all 89 regular-season games he played for Minnesota from 2006-11, traveled to the Twin Cities last Wednesday before departing with a group of volunteers that included Vikings Vice President of Content & Production Bryan Harper and musician Chris Hawkey, a KFAN Power Trip co-host.
It was the fourth time for Harper to join Serving Our Troops. He previously helped on trips to Iraq, Kuwait and Norway.
"It was an honor to be a part of another Serving Our Troops project," Harper said. "These soldiers are away from their families for long periods of time, and to be able to share a little bit of home is meaningful.
Serving Our Troops, a St. Paul-based organization, is led by several top restauranteurs and hit a major milestone by serving up its 100,000th steak this past Saturday.
WCCO reported that Spc. Theodore Cameron-Williams from Bloomington received the 100,000th steak.
"It actually feels great. I feel very honored to receive this," Spc. Cameron-Williams told WCCO. "It's a lot of soldiers before me, so I want to thank all those before me and the staff that came out here and served us as well."
The idea for Serving Our Troops was sparked in 2004 during a dinner at Mancini's Char House, Pat Harris, one of the organizer's explained to the Star Tribune.
Serving Our Troops connected members of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard who are deployed to Kuwait with a crowd of loved ones at Saint Paul RiverCentre via a live video connection.
Hutchinson has a restaurant called Black Rabbit in Nashville, where he finished his 12-year career. Hutchinson totaled seven Pro Bowl selections and five All-Pro selections.
Former Vikings All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson ventured to Kuwait over the Memorial Day weekend to help Serving Our Troops cook steaks for 4,500 soldiers.