Carnival Cruise Line, which carries more active and retired military personnel than any other cruise operator, joined forces with Operation Homefront today to extend the July 4th holiday and thank men and women in uniform by hosting the world’s first “social media powered barbecue” for military troops at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
The unique summertime feast featured burgers whose buns were lasered with heartfelt messages of thanks to service members using a one-of-a-kind culinary laser printer.
Using the hashtag #ThankYouBurger, Americans were encouraged to show their appreciation of the U.S. military by tweeting and posting messages of gratitude via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. More than 15,000 thank you messages were transmitted in real time to a tech-enabled grill at the base in San Diego, and then laser printed onto burger buns and served to military troops during a backyard barbecue themed event.
In recognition of the thousands of #ThankYouBurger tweets and posts received, Carnival donated $25,000 to help the organization fulfill its mission of building strong, stable and secure military families.
Deshauna Barber — godmother to Carnival Vista and the first woman serving in the military to be named Miss USA — joined Carnival Chief Maritime Officer William Burke and Operation Homefront president and CEO Brig. Gen. (ret) John I. Pray Jr. to personally serve nearly 2,000 burgers to military personnel.
“We wanted to create a platform for Americans looking to connect with the military and show our gratitude for their service during the July 4th holiday,” said Burke. “We all want the troops to know how grateful we –and our country – are for protecting our freedom and this unique social media-powered barbecue is a fantastic way to show our appreciation.”
“As an American who serves in the military, I really appreciate that Carnival Cruise Line looks for meaningful ways to serve us and I’m honored to be a part of this fun event,” said Barber.
“Thanks to the continuing commitment of amazing partners like Carnival Cruise Line, Operation Homefront is able to meet the critical needs of America’s military families,” added Pray. “Since 2011, we have fulfilled over 35,000 requests for financial assistance. I’m especially thankful to those on social media who helped make this $25,000 donation from Carnival Cruise Line possible as we will be able to deliver even more goodness to those that have done so much for all of us – our nation’s military families.”
This special event is part of a continuing partnership between Carnival and Operation Homefront. Last year, hundreds of military families were welcomed aboard the company’s newest ship, Carnival Vista, prior to its inaugural sailing from the U.S. The festivities, were the culmination of a year-long campaign called Honor.Family.Fun which helped raise funds and awareness for Operation Homefront and its cause.