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‘Whatasurprise’ for Floresville soldier
U.S. Army Spc. Michael Candela is welcomed by Whataburger representative Lexie Gonzales Dec. 22. Candela was presented with a gift basket which included camouflage gear and Whataburgers for a year.
FLORESVILLE -- It was the stuff of dreams for U.S. Army Spc. Michael Candela as he was finally able to order a double meat, double cheese Whataburger with bacon, grilled onions, and jalapenos.
That was the burger Candela ordered at Whataburger Dec. 22 upon his return from deployment in Afghanistan.
Candela, who was recognized by the U.S. Army for exceptionally valorous actions during his deployment, arrived home in Floresville Dec. 21.
Throughout his deployment, Candela often dreamed of food from his favorite restaurant, Whataburger, and would frequently write posts on his Facebook wall, detailing his desire for the burgers.
The morning after he returned home, Candela and his family headed to Whataburger so he could have his favorite food. Upon arriving, he was surprised to be greeted by representatives from Whataburger and members of the local community, who gathered inside to give Candela a warm welcome home.
In recognition of his service, the Whataburger Corp. gifted Candela with Whataburgers for a whole year and camouflage Whataburger gear. Whataburger’s mascot, Whataguy, also was present to welcome the local hero home.
Whataburger representative Lexie Gonzales said the company was contacted to see what could be done for Candela, who is such a fan of their product.
“We looked at his Facebook page and pretty much everything he was posting was about Whataburger,” Gonzales said.
Candela’s face was wreathed in smiles as he felt the support of the community.
“I was just overwhelmed; it’s pretty amazing,” Candela said of his surprise. “I’m very grateful and very thankful for everything and that everyone came out for me.”
Candela is the 23-year-old son of Steve and Olga Baumann and the proud brother of Emelie and Cristian Baumann of Floresville. He is the grandson of Leslie and Nelda Baumann of Floresville and Luciano and Socorro Suchil of Robstown.
Candela shared with his welcoming party an experience with a military ready-to-eat burger, which tasted awful, he said.
“The only way I was able to get it down, was to close my eyes and pretend it was a Whataburger,” Candela said.
On Aug. 8, Candela was performing duties as a member of the Battalion Personal Security Detachment for the 2nd Battalion 12th Infantry Regiment in the city of Asadabad, Afghanistan, when his detail fell victim to a suicide bomber who detonated an explosive-filled vest.
Candela’s actions in providing security for the casualties and field-dressing the wounded led to the preservation of many lives. The Army recognized him for his actions in tending to six wounded soldiers. (See Nov. 14 Wilson County News.)
“I’m just glad to be home,” Candela said.
He Whatasized his meal.
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