A military family made a big impression on Blake Shelton at a recent concert when he invited them onstage and serenaded them with his hit song “Home.”
Shelton said the chance to honor USO representatives Roland and Marie Ester Kiendrebeogo at the San Diego concert was one of the highlights of his Ten Times Crazier tour this summer.
“I couldn’t take my eyes off the family when they were on stage with us,” Shelton said in an interview with People. “I have the on-stage vantage point every night, so having them come up and experience the crowd singing to them was so cool. They were overwhelmed by the experience and honestly, we all were.”
Contact Music reports that the Kiendrebeogos, both members of the U.S. Navy, were honored during the concert for their tireless work for the USO, providing help and support to U.S. troops and their families.
Roland and Marie Ester are originally from West Africa. They moved to Shelton’s home state of Oklahoma, where they became U.S. citizens – and huge Blake Shelton fans. So meeting Blake and being invited on stage with him made a big impression on the Navy couple also.
“It’s a big deal,” says Roland. “We’re so excited. He’s a character and I like a man of character.”
Marie Esther said, “The show made me feel like I was in Oklahoma again.”
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) September 10, 2014
Shelton describes his work with the USO as “awesome.”
“They are such good people and they treat the soldiers like royalty.” he said. “When they bring them backstage, it’s the soldiers who are the superstars. I think what they do for morale is so important. Having the soldiers and veterans being part of our shows is good morale for all of us and it’s really gratifying.”
Besides serenading the Kiendrebeogos at the concert, he presented the couple with a $10,000 gift card from JCPenny to support military families in need.
Shelton has also worked with JCPenny as a Cares Ambassador for the past two years, raising nearly $5 million for the USO. For the duration of Shelton’s tour, JCPenny will donate $1 to the USO, up to $200,000 for each shopper or fan who tags @JCPENNEY on Twitter using the hashtag #JCPANDBLAKE4USO.
According to The Inquisitr, Shelton made another family very happy when his tweets helped find the owner of a wedding photo lost during the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
[Image courtesy of Country Weekly]