Food service specialists use culinary skills to create feast
November 29, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla. (29 Nov. 2012) -- Even though many Soldiers at Fort Sill were away from their family Thanksgiving, the Garcia Dining Facility (DFAC) made sure they didn't celebrate the holiday alone.
The Soldiers at the DFAC worked hard to make sure everything was perfect for the big day. With more than 700 pounds of turkey, 100 pounds of crab legs, 159 pounds of buffet ham and 312 pounds of Cornish hens, the Soldiers, families, retirees and civilians had plenty to eat. The cooks didn't stop there. There were also huge vats of mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and an entire section devoted to desserts.
"This day is our big day, our Superbowl," said Sgt. 1st Class Billy Belvin, DFAC manager. "We do it for the Soldiers who are away from their families, so they can have a happy Thanksgiving."
Attention was paid to every detail, and even kids had a special surprise for them.
"I was in charge of the kids room, said Staff Sgt. Telisha Benns, 66th Forward Support Company. "We have a movie theme to make all the kids feel like a star. They have candy, cupcakes, teepees and popcorn, and can sit and watch a movie or dress up as movie stars."
Pfc. Samuel Santana, 571st Forward Support Company, said he wanted the DFAC to be a haven for single Soldiers.
"Soldiers who can't have Thanksgiving with their families are welcome to come here and enjoy Thanksgiving. The holidays are all about family, and in the Army, we have a brother and sister type of bond."
Santana added it was difficult to make Thanksgiving a success.
"It took a lot of hard work. It took everyone's cooperation and a lot of time to be able to do what we have done."
The hard work of the Soldiers did not go unnoticed.
"They started cooking at 9 o'clock last night (Nov. 21) till 5 o'clock this morning. The rest of the time was spent putting everything together. It was basically 24-hour ops," said Belvin. "I'm very proud of them. We are short-handed, and they pushed through the hours. It's worth it when Soldiers, retirees and families come through the door with big smiles on their faces."
Benns said the preparation is all about thinking outside of the box.
"When we are cooking, we have a routine," she said. "This meal is different though, because it allows our cooks to be creative, show off their talents and have a feeling for the culinary arts."