Vice President Pence Makes Surprise Visit to Cape Cod Cares for the Troops Christmas Party

FORT BELVOIR, VA. – The Cape Cod Cares for the Troops annual Christmas party had a very special, and unexpected, visitor last Saturday.

Vice President Michael Pence made a surprise visit to the party at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, speaking to soldiers and handing out “challenge coins” and other gifts, while his wife, Karen, gifted bracelets to spouses and caregivers.

Co-founder of Cape Cod Cares for the Troops Michelle DeSilva knew about Pence’s arrival. She said the White House contacted her about a week before the party.

“I got a call like a week before we were going to go and they asked permission. They had heard what Cape Cod Cares for the Troops does at Fort Belvoir and they asked if it would be okay to have the Vice President of the country come to our party, which of course we were more than honored,” DeSilva explained.

It wasn’t clear if Pence would be able to attend the Christmas party in the days leading up to it. DeSilva says that it wasn’t until the day before the party that she got confirmation from the White House that Pence would be there.

“There was a little bit of a delay because when former President Bush died there was a good chance he wasn’t going to make it, and then Friday morning we were handing out gifts to all the families and they called to tell us he was going to be there. It was very hard because we were sworn to secrecy, we could tell no one. It was hard to do, but we were honored to have them there. It was amazing,” said DeSiva, before going on to explain that Karen Pence has a personal connection to Cape Cod.

“He spent about ten minutes talking to us, he and Mrs. Pence. She actually knew a lot about it, she said she had been on our website. She also liked the fact that we were from Cape Cod because she came here a lot as a child because her uncle lived in Dennis.”

A total of 270 people attended the party. Cape Cod Cares for the Troops handed out roughly 5 gifts to every child that included bicycles, clothing, toys, and more.

Every soldier and child received a quilt from the Harwich Quilt Bank while families were each given Christmas wreaths from the Barnstable County Sherriff’s Office.

The party on Saturday marked the tenth straight year Cape Cod Cares for the Troops has held the Christmas party at Fort Belvoir.

By TIM DUNN, News Center 

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