By Lisa Ferdinando, ARNEWSJune 14, 2013
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 14, 2013) -- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III celebrated the Army's birthday, June 14, with a visit to a local business that provides support and morale-boosting treats -- cupcakes -- to Soldiers.
Chandler said the visit to Georgetown Cupcake was a way for him to interact with the public and say thanks to businesses that support the military. He said that support helps keep Soldiers ready and resilient.
"It's very important for members of the public to see the military and for the military to engage with them," he said. "But it's also about recognizing a business that chooses to volunteer their goods to our Soldiers who are overseas."
Chandler noted the day marks an important milestone -- the 238th year of the Army protecting the nation. He and his wife, Jeanne Chandler, blew out the candles on cupcakes that wrote out "Happy 238th Birthday Army."
"Thank you from the Army," he told the crowd in the popular shop. "For 238 years, we have been defending the United States for you and we are happy to be a part of this event today."
Chandler expressed his gratitude to the shop owners, sisters Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Berman, for donating their time and goods to lift the spirit of deployed Soldiers.
He said it is important that military leaders visit members of the public to let them know just how much that support means.
"They don't have to do this, and they chose to do it as a way of demonstrating their support for service members," said Chandler.
LaMontagne and Berman, who star in the reality show DC Cupcakes, send 10,000 cupcakes overseas to U.S. troops each year as part of their "Operation Cupcake" project.
"As a D.C.-based business, the military is near and dear to our hearts," said LaMontagne. "We have family and friends in the military and we are so excited to celebrate the Army's birthday with them."
Berman said supporting the military is a way to give back to the men and women in uniform.
"It's our way of saying 'thank you' for what they do, protecting our freedoms overseas and at home," she said. "I think that out of all the cupcake orders that we do, 'Operation Cupcake' is definitely the most meaningful thing that we've ever really done."
Visitors to the shop on a sunny afternoon in the nation's capital said they were happy to see members of the military interacting and engaging with the public.
"It's been very special to share this day," said Army wife Lindsey Shelton, whose husband is currently deployed. "It's nice for us as military family members to see them here."
She was at the shop with her sister-in-law, Sarah Shelton, who comes from a family with a long military history. "It's an exciting day and it's really nice to see the military come out in the community."