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Chick-fil-A's Military Appreciation Night gives back Phillip Brents | Sat, May 28 2011 01:35 AM

Despite the recent operation by U.S. Special Forces to locate and kill terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the decade-long war goes on in Afghanistan, now largely overshadowed by the U.S.-led regime change instituted in Iraq.

Now Yemen is in the news.

Members of the U.S. military are stationed around the globe, either actively fighting to protect our way of life or supporting it through diplomatic channels.

Despite the recent downturn in the economy, America remains the world’s undisputed superpower.

That said, and with San Diego being a military town, the people at the region’s Chick-fil-A restaurants have come up with a special way of bestowing their appreciation on those who guard our country. Every year for the past four years, the county’s four local outlets have served up Military Appreciation Night, including the restaurant in Eastlake Terraces.

This year, the popular event expanded to the restaurant chain’s 31 stores in Southern California, and took place May 25 from 4 to 7 p.m.

All active military personnel and veterans were invited, along with immediate family members, to receive a free meal at one of the locations. The event has proved popular, according to Eastlake Terraces store owner/operator Mandy Medlin, with about 2,000 meals served each year since the promotion has been running.

This year’s promotion saw 2,299 meals served in a three-hour period. Family-friendly activities and entertainment were provided.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Medlin said.

The idea behind the annual promotion is to provide support for what is most likely an under-appreciated segment of our society.

“The economy is hard right now, so anything we can provide, especially to families, I’m sure helps,” Medlin said.

Military Appreciation Night is presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation and United Services Automobile Association in conjunction with the VFW Foundation’s Return the Favor  campaign.

Chick-fil-A has been a valued member of the South County community since the Eastlake Terraces location opened in August 2004. The Chula Vista store made history as the Atlanta-based restaurant chain’s first free-standing location. All others had previously been located in malls.

The company recently introduced a spicy chicken sandwich that drew raves from our review staff. And there’s more than just chicken on the menu. Our staff was impressed with the fresh fruit tray (served with a caramel side topping) that featured an assortment of apples, grapes, strawberries and Mandarin oranges. The restaurant also serves several gluten-free menu items.

The Eastlake Terraces store is located at 2089 Olympic Parkway. For more information, call 482-6719 or visit the Web site at www.chick-fil-a.com/eastlaketerraces.

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