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Burger family visits Mount Vernon for George Washington Birthnight Supper and Ball

by Kaden Quinn | March 15, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Submitted/Courtesy of Philip Burger Philip and Dolores Burger with Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States to the United States

Burgers' Smokehouse Vice President Philip Burger and his mother Dolores Burger visited a black-tie gala in honor of George Washington's 291st birthday during the trip in late February to Mount Vernon, in northern Virginia. The pair was privy to a panel before the gala featuring ambassadors to the United States from the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Ukraine.

Philip Burger said the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association got in contact with his family last year to see if the business could help restore Washington's smokehouse to his historic estate. The conversation about restoration was spurred by Burgers' acquisition and ownership of Edwards Virginia Smokehouse, based out of Surry, Virginia. He said, as the largest producer of country ham and the leader in the industry, Burgers' Smokehouse decided to participate in the project.

This led the Burgers to attend the 76th annual George Washington Birthnight Supper and Ball for the evening. The gala acts as a fundraiser benefitting Washington's Mount Vernon estate. Mount Vernon does not receive any state or federal money and instead operates on admissions from the visitors and donations from benefactors.

"They rely on donations from folks like us or private donors to run the estate and it is owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and has been...about 50 years after Washington died," Philip said.

According to a statement sent by Dolores, the program for the evening featured a panel including speakers from several nations.

This included Oksana Markarova, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States. The Burgers said she spoke to attendees regarding the war her nation faces against Russia, asking for continued support at this time.

"I'm so sorry that the people in Ukraine have to lose everything in their country to fight for freedom," Dolores Burger said. "There's their energy, their infrastructure, their health facilities, their schools, anything about the arts. So meeting (the ambassador) was really important to me. She thanked the United States for help and continued to ask for help. I was just humbled."

"I would say that's a good term," Philip Burger added. "You're humbled to meet someone who came from there and, as mom said, asked for continued support for the cause and (relief) for how much destruction to the country there was."

The Burgers said they met with the British Ambassador to the United States Karen Pierce, the Spanish ambassador to the United States and the French ambassador to the United States.

During the weekend of the trip, the two took a private tour of the Mount Vernon estate, where preservationists showed the Burgers the smokehouse as well as other areas of the home. The two explained the organization wants to save almost all of the material that is already a part of the structure.

"(The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association) are really into preservation and restoration and to keep everything, even the wood that was on there," Dolores said.

  photo  Submitted/Courtesy of Philip Burger Dolores Burger speaks to British Ambassador to the United States Karen Pierce.

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