TEMPE, Arizona - The 35th Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl provided a surprisingly romantic backdrop for a U.S. Army soldier currently supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and his girlfriend of two years.
Unbeknownst to girlfriend Faith Jarvis, First Lieutenant Ray Vera of the 49th Military Police Brigade, California National Guard, was flown in from Iraq on a very special mission. First Lieutenant Vera proposed to Jarvis before more than 80,000 in-stadium football fans in addition to millions of television viewers during the Tostitos “Creating Connections” live, on-field halftime event. First Lieutenant Ray Vera and Jarvis had not seen one another since Vera’s unit was deployed to Iraq.
Jarvis believed she was attending the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl to participate in a halftime “throw for charity” and visit with her boyfriend via a live satellite link on-field. In fact, Tostitos worked with the U.S. Army’s Operation Tribute to Freedom to bring First Lieutenant Vera home from overseas for the surprise reunion. First Lieutenant Vera was selected for this outreach program in recognition for his outstanding performance of duty in Iraq.
This reunion is part of the Department of Defense’s America Supports You program. America Supports You recognizes citizens' support for the military and communicates that support to members of the Armed Forces and their families at home and abroad.
Though Jarvis did not complete her 15-yard “throw for charity,” the USO, an America Supports You team member, received a $25,000 donation on behalf of the Tostitos brand. The USO provides morale, welfare and recreation-type services to men and women in uniform and supports programs to help keep families connected with loved ones deployed overseas.
Tostitos tortilla chips and dips are registered trademarks of Frito-Lay North America, the convenient food division of PepsiCo.
About America Supports You Since the launch of America Supports You last November, more than one million Americans, including citizens, businesses and organizations have logged onto AmericaSupportsYou.mil to register the activities and projects in their communities that show their support for America’s Armed Forces, especially those serving in harm’s way. To find out how you can support the troops, visit www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil.
About Operation Tribute to Freedom The U.S. Army's Operation Tribute to Freedom program is a national effort to recognize and honor Soldiers returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle by sharing the stories of these courageous service members with the American people- one Soldier's story at a time.