FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Good food and a visit by NFL Hall-of-Famer Franco Harris made for a successful fourth-annual Food Expo, organizers and participants said Tuesday.

The Food Expo, an appreciation event for Soldiers and post workers, is held each year to thank the post community members for their patronage and service, said Michael Heckman, the food program manager for Fort Jackson's Directorate of Logistics.

"We get together the community - AAFES, DOL, U.S. Foods, Johnson Food Service and other partners - and we meet the people (who use and purchase) our products," Heckman said.

Forty vendors, including Sara Lee, General Mills and ConAgra Foods, participated in the event, said John Nelums, a quality assurance officer for DOL.

"The expo includes a sampling of different (food) items that our training Soldiers eat on a daily basis. And, there are cash prizes, door prizes. The food (we're serving today) was donated by the vendors and U.S. Foods-Lexington/Columbia," said Nelums, who coordinated the event, which was at the NCO Club.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, foodies from all over the post milled from table to table, contemplating what they would try next at the free-food fair.

Mini cheeseburgers, salmon burger patties, macaroni and cheese, chicken, cinnamon buns, honey buns, pizza, cheese burritos, egg rolls, chili and more could be found at this year's Food Expo.

Rosa Toland, a contractor with Balfour Beatty, said this year's food expo was the first she had ever attended.

"It's great," Toland said. "It looks like they are well-prepared for it. There is an abundance of food, and they haven't run out."

While many ate, many others crowded into a lounge at the NCO Club to get the autograph of retired Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris. In 1975, Harris was the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl IX.

Harris signed autographs from 11:30 a.m. until past 1 p.m. in the club's Excalibur Room.

"For being out of the (National Football) League so long, I am surprised with today's turnout," Harris said.

Page last updated Thu October 22nd, 2009 at 08:39