Reporting Lisa Fielding
(CBS) — A special guest joined military service members and their families for lunch at outback steakhouse in Orland Park on Friday.
Singer Tim McGraw stopped by as part of Operation Homefront, a program that awards mortgage-free homes to wounded warriors and members of the armed forces.
“We’re just here to say how much we appreciate all that they’ve done, not only for the service members who go overseas or go abroad to put their lives on the line and provide safety and security for us but also family members that are home waiting and worrying,” McGraw says.
McGraw has a long history and deep interest in supporting veterans and military families and says he wanted to find another way to honor our veterans and give back to them for their commitment and service to our country.
“My sister is a veteran of the first Gulf War, my uncle is a Vietnam veteran, my grandfather is a Navy veteran,” he says.
Needless to say, the soldiers were stunned to see who would be having lunch with them.
“I think it’s amazing. I’m thrilled to be here. He’s one of my favorite country singers. I can’t believe I actually get to sit next to him,” soldier Simon Kimball says.
McGraw was in town for a concert at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater.
“Chicago is awesome. It’s one of my favorite towns to play in the fans are always a good time. I always look forward to coming here because the fans here are pretty rabid,” McGraw says.
Last year, he teamed up with Chase and Operation Homefront to launch the program. So far, it has awarded 26 newly renovated mortgage-free homes provided by Chase to deserving military families.
This summer, McGraw, Chase and Operation Homefront will double that number by awarding a home at each of his 31 tour stops. McGraw’s “Two Lanes of Freedom” tour continues through July.