Army Soldier and Air Force Reservist Stay in Shape With Plant-Based Grub
For Immediate Release:
June 2, 2016
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – It’s time for PETA to name this year’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door, and two U.S. military members—24-year-old active duty Army solider Gary Mitchell Jr. of Atlanta and 24-year-old Air Force reservist Aaron Long of Ogden, Utah—are in the running. They beat out hundreds of other entrants from across the nation to advance to the final round. Visitors to PETA.org can now help PETA select the two lucky winners—one man and one woman—who will each receive a free vacation for two to Maui, Hawaii, courtesy of Humane Travel.
“Nothing gets hearts racing like someone who’s healthy, fit, energetic, and passionate about helping others, and that description fits vegans to a T,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “The military recruits in PETA’s contest are already winners because they defend our country, including all of its four-legged, winged, and finned inhabitants.”
Currently stationed in Seoul, South Korea, Mitchell has been vegan for two years and persuaded his military grocer to stock three times more plant-based grub. The Atlanta native is a passionate animal advocate who opts for cruelty-free clothing and accessories whenever possible. He’s also a fitness fanatic who says vegan meals keep him thriving at the gym: “As a vegan athlete and personal trainer the abundance of carbs and nutrient-dense foods sends my energy and strength through the roof. The alkalinity also helps speed up my recovery time.” When not breaking a sweat, he enjoys writing.
Long is an F-22 aircraft specialist who experienced significant improvements in his health after going vegan, including decreased blood pressure and better endurance. The Air Force reservist has persuaded fellow troops during active duty to try vegan meals and order nonleather boots, and at home in Utah, he rescues dogs, volunteers at an animal shelter, and has attended protests to speak up for animals in zoos and the circus. “I have always dreamt of making a major change for good on this planet and I learned that veganism is the easiest way to do so,” he says.
Voting for the finalists to help PETA determine whom it should select as the winners ends at 12 noon EDT on June 7. PETA will select the winners based on several factors, including vote count. See the full contest details here. Winners will be notified and announced by June 14.
For more information and to cast your vote, please click here.