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VF's Horace Small and The North Face Sponsor "Cops on Top" Memorial Mountaineering Expeditions

VF's Horace Small and The North Face brands support memorial expeditions honoring fallen law enforcement officers

Greensboro, N.C. - VF Imagewear, Inc.'s Horace Small brand and VF Outdoor, Inc.'s The North Face brand, both part of global apparel leader VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), team up with Cops on Top - a multi-national, non-profit organization that honors the lives and sacrifices of officers killed in the line of duty while protecting and serving their communities. Annual mountaineering expeditions to the world's foremost mountains provide a means by which Cops on Top can honor fallen officers and enlighten the public on the dangers, stress and life-altering effects faced by the thousands of officers who protect them every day.

An ambitious 2005 plan directs expeditions on behalf of fallen comrades to three of the world's Seven Summits: Mount Kilimanjaro, Denali and Mount Elbrus. The brands' exclusive sponsorship of these cross-continent mountaineering expeditions begins Jan. 13, 2005, with the initial climb, a Memorial Expedition to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro*.

The Kilimanjaro expedition will be undertaken in honor and in the memory of Officer Isaac Espinoza of the San Francisco Police Department. Officer Espinoza was killed in the line of duty in April 2004 and left behind a wife and three-year-old daughter. A group of 13 Cops on Top team members departs Jan. 9 and the expedition is expected to conclude approximately a week-and-a-half later following a successful summit and descent. Through the donation of equipment and monetary support, VF's Horace Small and The North Face brands are able to help Cops on Top stage these memorial expeditions that honor police officers who have given their lives in order to make communities safer.

"A fallen officer's memory serves as our banner and a memorial is carried to each summit attempted," said Sgt. Keith McPheeters, Cops on Top expedition leader. "Historically, climbing expeditions have been extremely difficult to execute without the help of sponsors, so we're thankful that the Horace Small and The North Face brands have been so good to us. Sponsorship programs help enable Cops on Top to tell the stories of police officers that the public generally never hears, and we are proud to have the support of these great brands."

"We are fortunate to be able to use the strength of our brands to promote and support the efforts of Cops on Top," said Janet Rives, marketing manager, VF Imagewear. "The climbing expeditions allow volunteer officers to undertake acts of honor and valor in order to memorialize those who have fallen in the line of duty. Both the climbers and those they are honoring are leading examples to all they serve, and we are privileged to have our lifestyle apparel and equipment be part of such a noble cause."

Since its inaugural climb, the Dale Claxton Denali Memorial Expedition in 1999, Cops on Top has had a three-fold commitment - to provide tangible aid for the grieving and healing process of those who have lost a loved one, to support organizations dedicated to this cause, and to project a positive image of law enforcement officers. The Cops on Top team is comprised of largely self-funded law enforcement officer volunteer climbers.**

The Horace Small brand, makers of fine law enforcement and public safety uniforms, and The North Face brand, makers of an extensive line of performance apparel, equipment and footwear, are well-known lifestyle brands for law enforcement personnel and outdoor adventurers, respectively.

For more information on Cops on Top, to nominate a fallen officer on whose behalf a climb can be taken, or to view live Web updates from expeditions, please visit www.copsontop.com.

* The VF brands have pledged the following support:

  • VF Imagewear Inc.'s Horace Small brand: travel costs for climbers on all 3 climbs and The Force™ Duty Jacket.
  • VF Outdoor Inc.'s The North Face brand: 10 Mountain 25 Tents, and for each climber: the Off-Chute 35 Ski Pack, the Flight Jacket and Pant, the Wind -X Shirt, and the Aurora Tight.

** January's Memorial Expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro is a special endeavor for the Cops on Top team. Officer Rocky Fails of the Farmington, N.M., Police Department was recently diagnosed with Stage IV Squamous Cell Cancer and has undergone aggressive surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. An original member of Cops on Top, Officer Fails expressed his desire to attend the 2005 Mount Kilimanjaro Memorial Expedition and fellow Cops on Top members have pledged to assist him in attaining his goal.

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