Soldiers create works of art for Thanksgiving
December 3, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Just as a spider can spin a delicate web, steady hands can shape an intricate piece of art. Time and knowledge transforms an ordinary human into an artist who craft pieces that can last a lifetime.
A group of food service specialists participated in the annual tradition of carving ice sculptures and crafting culinary pieces of art that are scheduled to be displayed at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., dining facilities throughout the Thanksgiving holiday.
However, before mastering the art of ice carving food service specialists from the JBLM community participated in a number of food preparation workshops to perfect their culinary talents.
Only soldiers who excelled in their daily duties were given the opportunity to attend the workshops and create these pieces of art.
"This training really gets you to the next level," said Spc. Jose Lazokafatty, food service specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 702nd Brigade Support Battalion. "It allows you to have creative freedom and bring to life what's on your mind and the opportunity to excel."
The ice sculptures are constructed from 300-pound clear blocks produced by the Department of Logistics. DOL began producing these blocks shortly after last year's Thanksgiving.
Soldiers use a variety of tools to add detail to their sculptures, to include power drills, chain saws and hand chisels to make their sculptures come to life.
"This experience is a lot of fun," said Sgt. Jacqueline Luurtsema, food service specialist, HHC, 702nd BSB. "I like to learn new things about my career."
Soldiers use these tools as they design and build sculptures for their dining facility. Each dining facility will compete in the JBLM Best Dining Facility Competition held Nov. 27.
The competition allows food service specialists the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skill at their specific career and those who excel could be invited to attend the joint services Competitive Culinary Training Event in Fort Lee, Va.
I Corps Food Services, 7th Infantry Division Food Services, 593rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and DOL Food Program management are slated to judge this years competition.
The dining facility with the best centerpiece and best overall décor will receive an award. This award reflects the hard work that was put into the individual ice sculptures created by the Soldiers.
"Thanksgiving's the one day a year that the soldiers get to show off their skills and shine," said Staff Sgt. Ritchie Jones, food service specialist, 1st Special Forces Group.
Just as the chisel grinds at a block of ice, creating the desired shape and texture, this training sculpts the soldier behind the tool into an artist crafting a piece of art. Through determination and the will to learn, solid blocks of ice are transformed into masterpieces.