Domino’s Pizza holds 12th Annual Soldier Appreciation Day
By DAVID J. HARDIN
Domino’s Pizza in Copperas Cove held its annual Soldier Appreciation Day on Sunday, an event which brings together soldiers and their families and gives them the opportunity to make their own pizzas free of charge.
In addition to making pizza, the families could enjoy face painting, balloon animals, eating popcorn, and enjoying free drinks. A DJ provided the music, and a live band performed as well.
The event is very important in the eyes of Domino’s Pizza and its parent company, Mac Pizza Management Inc., which owns and operates Domino’s Pizza stores in and around central and southeast Texas. Mike and Cindy Cunningham opened the first store in College Station, Texas in 1978.
Chris Herd is the Regional Director for Mac Pizza Management Inc and oversees the Domino’s stores in the Waco, Temple, Austin areas.
“In 2004, the company went out to do some re-deployments and passed out pizza to returning troops, and Ingrid Kiefer who was the General Manger of the Domino’s in Copperas Cove at the time said we need to do something more for our soldiers,” Herd said. “In 2005, we held the first Soldier Appreciation Day, and it has grown ever since. We appreciate our soldiers, and watching them make their own pizzas, they look like little kids waiting for their pizza.”
Soldier Appreciation Day was the creation of Ingrid Kiefer, now the public relations liaison to Fort Hood. She has been working with Domino’s for 20 years said she “wanted to do more for our soldiers.”
United States Army Colonel Todd M. Fox was on hand Sunday and talked about the community partnership with Fort Hood.
“The challenge of being a soldier and a family member is the constant transitions. You are always moving, or you are learning how to live without the soldier when he or she deploys,” Fox said. “The thing that helps you through that the most is when the community embraces you, and no community embraces the soldiers like central Texas.”
Command Sergeant Major Antonio Leija Jr. was also present on Sunday.
“Days like this, when we can really show our soldiers gratitude and come out here and make a pizza, and say thank to our soldiers is fantastic,” he said. “I have been stationed all around the world, and nowhere else have a found a community that takes care of their soldiers like central Texas.”
The Soldier Appreciation Day each year takes many Domino’s employees to the make it a success. Most of these employees come from Domino’s stores throughout Texas.
Karie Elkin has been working with Domino’s for eleven years and currently manages a store in College Station. She volunteered to come and help with this year’s event in Copperas Cove.
“It means a lot to me to be able to help with this appreciation of our soldiers, because I come from a military family, and Domino’s is a proud partner in that,” she said.
Four-year-old Matthew Stout made his own pizza and said that he put cheese, sauce, and bacon on it. He also got his face painted. Matthew was with his parents, Tyler and Krista. Tyler is stationed at Fort Hood.
Ms. Rabbit Fest Trisha Stutz volunteered at the event.
“As a military spouse, seeing Domino’s give back means a lot, bringing the community together, and showing the support for our men and women of the military, and their families, and sacrifices that they do shows how much they are appreciated.”
By the time the event ended at 3 p.m., there will still 150 people still in line to make their own pizza, but Domino’s made sure everyone had a chance to make their pizza before they left.