Fort Hood celebrated the opening of its first Subway with special guest Jared Fogle last week.
“I came to meet Jared and for lunch, too,” said Vanessa Silverio, a military spouse.
After ordering Subway’s new flatbread pizzas for herself and her 3-year-old son, Silverio went over to meet Fogle. He became a spokesman for the sandwich chain 16 years ago after losing 245 pounds eating there twice a day.
“He’s a friendly person,” Silverio said. “He inspires me.”
More than 50 people showed up for the grand opening event March 12 of the store in the TJ Mills Food Court. The Subway is run by the Fort Hood Exchange and replaced an Army & Air Force Exchange brand sandwich and pizza restaurant. Customers who arrived early received a reusable shopping bag filled with a coffee mug, water thermos and a football.
AAFES currently operates 133 Subway restaurants throughout the world and the two brands have partnered together for 14 years.
“It’s an awesome brand, and it’s a healthy brand,” said Paula Gunderson, general manager of the Fort Hood Exchange. “It helps them with their mission and with navigating health options to perform better.”
The idea for the new addition came after soldiers and family members expressed an interest in more healthy options on post.
“I come on post often for doctor’s appointment, the library and other facilities,” Silverio said. “Usually around, they have junk food — not good stuff. Here, you can have a salad or baked pizza.”
Fogle agreed it’s important to have these choices for soldiers, because everyone is impacted by obesity and the struggles related to maintaining a healthy weight.
“We make choices ... and it’s great to see if soldiers go to Subway they can get a healthy sandwich that tastes really good,” he said.
He said he was also honored to shake hands with troops as they came through the food court to meet him.
“I do a lot of Subway openings around the country, and to do them on military bases means that much more to me,” said Fogle, who also met with the Warrior Transition Brigade.
Pvt. James Dillard, III Corps, used his lunch hour to meet Fogle, because he said he’s “got a good story.”
He said he’s also looking forward to more options at the food court he frequents for lunch.
“The more options, the better,” Dillard said.