Update: pictures click here
For those of you who are totally confused by this intro, let me back up. The Summer of 2007, Soldiers’ Angels put out a call on the internet looking for local teams to help sponsor teams of soldiers in Afghanistan (here and here) to have a chili cookoff. Michael “Mad Mike” Freedman e-mailed me and said he was a cook with the International Chili Society and could supply us with all the teams we needed (I knew nothing about this group). Since then, there have been several cookoffs overseas, here is info and pictures of our last one in Baghdad. We have also hosted some chili cookoffs stateside with Soldiers’ Angels receiving the proceeds from them. Mad Mike and Carol (The CEO of the ICS) and her husband (an AF veteran) even attended Soldiers’ Angels Gala in DC last year. So with this relationship and bond, I was invited to attend the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff in Charleston, WV. If I wasn’t a vegetarian, I’d be a chili judge. Instead, I’ll be a salsa judge.
I arrived yesterday and shmoozed and introduced myself to many cooks, many who are actually Veterans too. The Soldiers’ Angels banner is nicely displayed for all to see too!I love being able to pass out pins and educate people on what we do with our great organization. It is also an honor to be able to talk to Veterans and hand them one of our challenge coins. Yesterday, I had the privilege of handing a coin to a man who served 28 years in the Army and told me how much that coin meant to him, & one who served 30 years in the Navy and started tearing up (we hugged). I’ve now realized why Soldiers’ Angels and the ICS fit so well together, because we all have big hearts and believe we should give back! Proceeds from all cookoffs are given to charities.
Soldiers’ Angels is like a family to me and for the cooks – this is their family. I’m honored they have welcomed me in to their family!
(Michael “Mad Mike” Freedman)