FORT HOOD, Texas - The outdoor grilling season got under way as Soldiers from 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team were treated to grilled-to-order steaks by members from Steak Team Mission during lunch at Operation Iraqi Freedom Memorial Dining facility, here, Mar. 3.

The nonprofit origination out of Dallas provided the 8-ounce filet steaks to service members as a gesture of gratitude for their service.

The event was funded by donations from members of the STM and north Texas contributors.

Sandy Pappas, one of the volunteer chefs at the event, said any opportunity to do something special for our service members is a good day.

"They are willing to put their lives on the line for our freedoms, and there are so many people that don't understand that those freedoms aren't free," said Pappas. "These are some of the guys and girls that protect those freedoms every day. Too many people may take that for granted, but I don't."

More than 30 STM members grilled 4000 steaks on eight grills outside the OIF dining facility. Soldiers waiting in line were offered steak appetizers while their steaks were being grilled.

Since the beginning of 2004 STM has been bringing high quality steaks to military service members wherever they are deployed.

Steak Team Mission founder, Harvey Gough, said the team was created seven years ago to take special care of service members who are deployed.

"We made it our job to care for Soldiers in dirty, ugly, smelly places, where nobody else likes to go," said Gough.

Another group of volunteers from STM went to Freeman and Theodore Roosevelt dining facilities here at Fort Hood, to prepare and serve an additional 6000 steaks for the Soldiers dining at those facilities.

The grilled steaks weren't the only thing noticeable by one Soldier eating at the OIF dining facility.

"What an outstanding way to build camaraderie on post inside the [dining facility], whether you normally eat here or not," said Sgt. 1st Class Weaver, a counter intelligent non-commission officer with 3HBCT.

Weaver, from Wichita, KS, added that it was nice to be able to get in a lunch with his wife Brandi.

"Today is a four star day," he said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16