Carl Jacob of Charles City is fondly known as "Mr. Tootsie Roll."
"It just happened," said Jacob.
It all started with a photo taken during the Vietnam War of service members enjoying some Tootsie Pops.
"One of my guys got a care package from home that had some Tootsie Pops in it, and we were sitting on dirt and took a picture of it," said Jacob.
Jump ahead to about 1992, Carl Jacob sent the picture to the Chicago-based Tootsie Roll Industries. Tootsie Roll posted the photo on its web site.
CEO Ellen Gordon said it's the only photo the company has of its products from the Vietnam War.
Jump ahead again to around 2003 when Jacob found out the picture was on the web site and wrote Tootsie Roll.
"That was on a Tuesday and around Thursday I got a case of everything made by Tootsie Roll at my doorstep," he said.
After getting free tootsie roll products, Jacob decided to give the candy away to two young men he knew were shipping out to Iraq.
"I thanked Tootsie Roll, and said I was sending to them and Tootsie Roll called me and said no, that's for you and sent me two more for each of those guys," said Jacob.
From then on, Tootsie Roll has continued to send products to Carl's doorstep.
When Tootsie Roll sent him red, white and blue banks, he handed them out at a local VA.
In 2010, when thousands of Iowa National Guard members got deployed to Afghanistan -- each person got a bag of Tootsie products thanks to Jacob's connection with the company.
During the deployment, Jacob and others sent boxes of Tootsie products overseas. In total, about seven million units of products have been handed out.
"Just something to tie my service years with the new guys," said Jacob.
In a phone interview, Ellen Gordon said the company has a special relationship with Carl and Tootsie is grateful to the men and women who serve our country.
Both Ellen and Carl received special flags from the Iowa National Guard for their efforts.
In case you're wondering why Tootsie Rolls products are so popular with the military, the candy is actually non-perishable and resistant to extreme weather conditions.