COPPERAS COVE — As Jessica Chartier’s children sprinkled cheese on their pizzas, the mother of two took a break from cooking lunch.
Chartier’s husband, Sgt. Alan Chartier, 59th Mobility Augmentation Company, 8th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, left for a nine-month deployment to Regional Command East in Afghanistan on March 2.
While her husband is supporting his route-clearance mission, Chartier is busy taking care of household duties.
She was happy to relax, get a free meal and mingle with other soldiers and their families Sunday during the eighth annual Soldier Appreciation Day hosted by Domino’s Pizza.
“I love this. It’s awesome,” Chartier said. “It gives me a chance to not have to cook lunch, especially when I have to do it every day that (my husband is deployed).”
About 35 Domino’s Pizza employees from across Central Texas volunteered to serve hundreds of community members.
Military families listened to free music as they got a behind-the-scenes look and made their own medium pizzas with unlimited toppings.
Ingrid Kiefer, public relations liaison for the chain’s Central Texas locations, came up with the idea to hold the community event annually and was thankful the Domino’s Pizza franchise backed her.
“To see all the families together, it’s heartwarming,” said Kiefer, whose husband served in the military. “When the war started, you heard everyone say ‘We stand behind the soldiers.’ But we wanted to go a little bit farther and (do something for them).”
Chartier said it was a wonderful way to get to know other military families in the community.
“I’ve always loved Dominos,” Chartier said. “After this experience, I think they are tremendous for just giving away this food to the military people and letting the kids do something as fun as this.”