Domino’s holds annual Soldier Appreciation Day

By PAMELA GRANT
Cove Leader-Press

Domino’s showed their support Sunday by serving those who serve.
Copperas Cove’s Domino’s, under MAC Pizza Management, held their 14th Annual Soldier Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. To celebrate, they offered a free medium pizza to active-duty and military veterans and their families. Making things even more fun, they were able to personally top their own pizzas. Chris Herd, Domino’s Regional Operations Director, estimated that by the end of the event they will have served about 750 free pizzas.
Domino’s offered more that just free pizza, though. They also offered popcorn and Bits ‘N Bites Cake Shop donated hundreds of miniature cupcakes for the event. Families could listen to a DJ while enjoying their free meal. They had a balloon artist, face painters, and activities like a bean bag toss to keep people entertained.
Herd said that he and Ingrid Kiefer, in charge of Public Relations and Liaison to Fort Hood, worked together to make sure that Domino’s showed support for the troops. The two originally handed out free pizzas to those coming back from deployments; however, Kiefer wanted to do more to show their support. Starting in 2004, they held their first military appreciation event. 
“It’s an honor for us to serve them,” said Kiefer. “In these days and times, it’s important to not just talk about it but to do something to support them.”
Herd talked about how they once had a soldier come in with a beaten-up pizza box. He remembers being worried that someone had somehow delivered the beaten-up box to the man. However, it turned out that the man had been sent the pizza box while he was deployed in Iraq and been told about the military appreciation event. He held onto the box, sleeping with it every night, looking forward to a free pizza upon his return and brought it with him to the event. Herd said that that story has stuck with him, letting him know how important an event like theirs can mean to a person. 
“For somebody that never served the country to have the opportunity to serve those that did serve our country is beyond fulfilling,” said Herd. “Domino’s Pizza supports the troops, and we very much enjoy holding this event for them.”
Herd called Sunday’s turnout ‘sensational’ and said that he has a lot of fun helping make the event a reality. He said that he especially enjoys watching how much fun the children have when they make their own pizzas.
Kiefer said that they held the event on Sunday instead of during the week to allow soldiers and their families to be able to make it into a family day. Kiefer added that families of military members also serve, and that it was important for them to honor them as well.
Austin Cox brought his wife, Eva Cox, and their two children, Scarlett and Vincent Cox. Austin Cox said that they came for the free pizza, but they were excited that there were activities for the kids as well. His son played the bean bag tossing game while they waited to make their pizzas.
“He’s looking forward to making his own pizza,” said Austin Cox about his son. “I can’t imagine how much it must cost them to give all this stuff out. It’s awesome. It’s really good.”
Leonardo Rodriguez brought his wife, Rachel Rodriguez, and their daughter Divina Rodriguez to the event.
“It’s pretty amazing that they get to experience what [the Domino’s employees] get to do on a regular basis,” said Rachel Rodriguez.
She said that her daughter loved it. Divina made a smiley face out of pepperoni on her pizza.
“Just to have this experience is amazing. The Army deploys a lot and getting to do stuff like this with the family is pretty great. They don’t really have much time.”
It’s awesome,” said Leonardo Rodriguez. “I appreciate it. It gives us something to do with the kids, and being in the Army, you want to spend as much time with your kids as possible.”

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