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Lowe's Hosts 'Grill of Honor' Event to Thank Troops for Service

Monday, July 01, 2013

By Joseph Andrew Lee 

Few things bring family together better than a good ol’ fashioned summertime grill out. Likewise, few things bring military together like a good ol’ fashioned inter-service competition.

The sparks of competition were flying Saturday as 750 military families invited by Lowe’s and the USO attended the Lowe’s Grill of Honor event at Nationals Park in Washington, where six “Grill Sergeants” – one from each branch of service – put their grilling skills to the test.

Producer and host of NBC's "The Voice" Carson Daly and actress and Sports Illustrated cover model Brooklyn Decker lent their star power to the event as judges.

“I feel right at home here,” Daly said. “I brought my wife and two kids out here because this is the type of alignment that I really enjoy. Good people with a good mission, this is such a great way to say ‘Thank you.’”

Chefs from the Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and National Guard were given 40 minutes to turn a recipe with surprise ingredients into a burger worth saluting. Daly and Decker – alongside USO of Metropolitan Washington President Elaine Rodgers and Lowe’s Chief Marketing Officer Tom Lamb – had the enviable task of choosing the winner.

The invited guests cheered on their favorite military branch and then enjoyed a delicious lunch and a day at the ballpark, including activities such as a Disney-themed Build & Grow clinic, face painting, cornhole tournaments and behind-the-scenes tours of the ballpark.

The winning Grill Sergeant, Marine Lance Cpl. Noah Bratcher and his wife, Cassandra – who happens to be Mrs. District of Columbia Exquisite – created the best burger among six branch chefs who fired up their Master Forge grills. Lowe's donated $100,000 to the USO on the Marines’ behalf.

“We are lucky we even turned something in, because my wife and I just wanted to eat those burgers ourselves, they looked that good,” said Bratcher, who is stationed at Marine Barracks 8th and I. “This whole thing is wonderful, and so perfect. We are so happy with today.”

Lowe’s was founded in 1946 by World War II Army veteran Carl Buchan and is a longtime supporter of the USO.

“On behalf of all of Lowe’s, but most importantly on behalf of 16,000 veterans that work in all 50 states for Lowes to serve our customers, we want to say thank you, thank you, thank you, for your service to our country,” Lamb said at the start of the event. “[Lowe’s veteran employees] reflect that every day and we know you do as well.”

Daly said the event provided an important way to give back to a community he appreciates. “The Voice” host’s grandfather was an Army Green Beret. His father was in the Navy, his great uncle was a Marine and his mom is an Army brat.

“Lowe’s is really putting their money where their mouth is,” Daly said. “By partnering with an organization like the USO – we all know the great work they do – you get something really genuine. Straight from the heart.”

(Check out photos from the Lowe’s Grill of Honor on the USO blog.) 

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Photo caption: Lowe's presents a check to the USO in honor of Marine Lance Cpl. Noah Bratcher and his wife, Cassandra (far left), who won Lowe's "Grill of Honor" competition last Saturday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Standing from center are Lowe's Chief Marketing Officer Tom Lamb, USO of Metropolitan Washington President Elaine Rogers, model/actress and event judge Brooklyn Decker. (USO photo by Joseph Andrew Lee) 

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