Chicago-area soldier invited to White House dinner

March 1, 2012 4:31:00 AM PST
Major Eldridge Singleton of Hopkins Park is one of 78 military service members invited to a White House dinner by President Barack Obama.

Major Singleton said he had no idea he was invited until the invite arrived in the mail.

"I first received the invitation last Monday, actually. Walked to the mailbox and there it was," Major Singleton said.

Major Singleton, 29, has served four deployments in Iraq. His first tour was with infantry troops and then with Special Operations forces. He's received four Bronze Stars.

"I'm just extremely honored and proud to stand in front of our commander in chief, the president of the United States, to represent all the soldiers that are in Iraq, have been in Iraq, the Army, Special Forces. Just so many different groups. Just an honor for both me and my wife and our family," Major Singleton said.

The major's wife, Kimberly, will join him at the presidential dinner. So that means the major has been involved in another important mission in the past few days.

"Oh wow, . . . we've been running around since we got the invitation, to find, just the right dress," Major Singleton said.

Major Singleton's parents still live in Hopkins Park.

"They're super excited," Major Singleton said of his parents. "So I talked to my mom and dad. They were just stoked."

Major Singleton is one of 78 people who stand for the thousands of other servicemen and servicewomen.

"It always feels good for people to say thank you and show appreciation; we see this everyday on street. So many people say thank you. So, it's a great honor for the president to do the same thing for all the soldiers. To be a representative of those folks, the White House can only fit so many people. To be one of those invited, to be a representative. It makes us feel great," Major Singleton said.

Those military service people attending the dinner come from all 50 states, Washington D.C., and U.S. territories. All services are represented, including the National Guard and Reserve.