News: The Valentine’s Day Chocolate Run
By Spc. Selvyana Teng-Soeyono
4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion
227th Aviation Regiment Unit Public Affair Representative
1st Cavalry Division
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – The USO and the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division hosted Kuwait’s only Valentine’s Day Chocolate Run 5k on Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Feb 15, 2014.
The event took runners across Camp Buehring, where participants from the 2nd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div., Fort Carson, Colo., the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, New York National Guard and the 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, chased Oompa Loompas for golden tickets. The race rewarded them with sweets and calls to their sweethearts as they crossed the finish line at the Oasis MWR stage.
“We wanted to recreate Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory,” said Tiffany Banks, the USO director on Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
“So we have Willie Wonka who starts the race, and Oompa Loompas along the route who are going to pop-up out of nowhere for the runners to catch. Oompa Loompas have golden tickets and will try to pass the golden ticket to the top 10 runners. Those runners will then compete for an awesome prize.”
And nowhere else in Kuwait could you find a golden ticket.
“We only do it out here,” said Bruce Burda, USO Regional vice president, Southwest Asia. “The soldiers are most isolated in this region, so Camp Buehring is the only place that we are putting the race on in conjunction with the same 5k run back in United States.”
The race connected deployed soldiers to their families all around the world. Family members submitted video shout outs and photos of their deployed soldiers. The USO then projected the photos and videos onto the Oasis MWR stage as the runners crossed the finish line.
The first 500 runners received long sleeve Chocolate Run T-shirts while every participant was rewarded with fountains of chocolate fondue, candy, shortcakes, cookies, hot chocolate and cheesecake.
“The best part of the Chocolate Run is the cheesecake at the end,” said Staff Sgt. Carlos Huezo, operations platoon sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd ABCT. “I just ate one slice and took one to go.”
Burda hoped the chocolate run provided an opportunity for the soldier to take a break from the working day grind and reconnect, if just for a day, with their Valentine’s.
“The USO loves to support the troops with these kind of events; it is a lot of fun for us and we enjoy all the participations and hope we brightened the day a bit for people missing their loved one back home,” said Burda.