Deployed soldier arranges Valentine's Day serenade

February 14, 2011|By MARIE GILBERT |
  • Krista Burger and her son, Daniel, are serenaded with a love song by Freedom Valley Chorus members Kristy Liskey, Wendy Reiber, Judy Castle and Nancy Verdier. Burger's husband, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Burger, who is stationed in Afghanistan, sent the quartet as a Valentine's Day gift.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Chocolates for your sweetheart might be a safe bet on Valentine’s Day.

But U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Burger had other ideas — roses, a love letter and a serenade in four-part harmony.

Even more romantic was the fact that it was all orchestrated from thousands of miles away.

Burger’s wife, Krista, lives in Hagerstown. He is stationed in Afghanistan.

But, despite the distance that separates them, he wasn’t going to let Feb. 14 go by unnoticed.

What better way to show his affection, he thought, than sending her an old-fashioned love song delivered by a group of a capella singers.

The gift of music was the culmination of several weeks of planning between Burger, 27, and the Freedom Valley Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International from Chambersburg, Pa.

“Daniel reads The Herald-Mail online every day,” said Carrie Detwiler, a chorus member. “One day, he saw a small notice about our group offering singing valentines. He e-mailed us and we started corresponding.”

Detwiler, who coordinated the singing valentines, said Daniel wanted the evening to be a surprise, “so we had to figure out how to make sure his wife would be at home when our quartet arrived.”

Krista, 30, is living in Hagerstown with her parents, Brent and Kathy Hepner, and her 10-year-old brother, Blake. So Burger enlisted their help to ensure his wife would be at the right place at the right time.

At 6 p.m. Monday, four women in red attire walked through the Hepners’ front door and began singing.

Sitting at a kitchen table with the couple’s 2-year-old son, Daniel, Krista thought the serenade was a gift for her mother.

But when the singers gathered near her chair and broke into “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” she realized what was happening. The group followed with a second love song, “I Only Have Eyes for You.”

“I shouldn’t have been surprised,” Krista said. “He’s been surprising me all day.”

Krista said her husband called her early on Valentine’s Day and told her to look in the newspaper. He had placed a message that said, in part, “you’re my true love and soul mate.”

He also ordered a Valentine’s cake, and sent her a dozen red roses and a plush blanket.

“He’s a very romantic person,” Krista said. “Very romantic. Sometimes, out of the blue, he sends me flowers. What he did today is typical of him. He loves a surprise.”

Burger is the son of Donald and Betty Burger, formerly of Hagerstown.

Krista said this is her husband’s fourth tour overseas. He was in Iraq and currently is on his second deployment to Afghanistan, where he has served for the past six months.

The couple will be married 10 years in July, Krista said, and though her husband might not be home this summer, she’s hoping he will return in the fall.

“We’re planning on renewing our vows on a cruise in October,” she said.

In addition to the serenade, Detwiler said the group delivers a single rose and a card to each recipient.

Detwiler said Daniel wrote a love letter to his wife and asked that it be placed inside the card.

Singing valentines have become very popular gifts, she said, and the group was completely booked Monday.

“But this was probably one of the most unique,” she said. “I know it was the one request that came the farthest distance.”

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