SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Family readiness groups (FRGs) from across the 25th Infantry Division put their cooking skills to the test, Sept. 19, at the Tropics, here, as part of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's (FMWR) Chili Cook-Off. A follow-up event to last summer's successful ChiliFest, the cook-off raised almost $2,000 and fed more than 250 Soldiers, civilians and family members. The proceeds were split among participating FRGs. Aubrey Kiemnec, recreation program coordinator, FMWR, who planned this year's Chili Cook-Off, considered the event a great success. "The goal of FMWR is to provide recreational opportunities for Soldiers and their families," Kiemnec explained. "We want to provide positive programs that boost morale, which in turn builds a stronger Army. "We had a variety of patrons attend the cook-off including a lot of families as well as single Soldiers," Kiemnec continued. "I received positive feedback from FRGs saying it was a great way for them to boost camaraderie between their members." The money raised by FRGs goes directly toward supporting Soldiers and their families."We're raising money to go towards a reunion party for Soldiers coming home," said Relisa Wilson, FRG senior advisor, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. "The Soldiers are due home in March, and we're going to have a luau." "We need to fundraise, and this was a fun one to do," echoed Sara Allison, FRG leader, A Company, 25th Special Troops Battalion (STB). "We use the money for families, welcome home parties and FRG activities." "It helps Soldiers get a leg up before they get deployed," added Lt. Col. Paul Fischer, communications officer in charge, A Co., 25th STB. Fischer is deploying with his unit in mid-November. Participating FRGs went all out with costumes, themes and elaborate decorations at their tables, all in an effort to woo votes from attendees. Money was at stake. FRGs placing in the top People's Choice categories won an additional $100. Narrowly beating the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery's FRG by only six votes, A Co., 25th STB, won the People's Choice for Best Chili with Fischer's own recipe, "Paul's Kickin' Chili." "He's a gourmet chef," said Allison, referring to why Fischer's chili was chosen to represent the FRG. "I like to cook," Fischer said. "If I wasn't in the Army, I'd be a chef." Accompanying the crowd favorites were three awards decided by a panel of three judges: Best Chili, Hottest Chili and Best Showmanship & Spirit. Winning FRGs received commemorative plaques. As an added bonus, the FRG winning the Best Chili award will be sold throughout October at the Kolekole Bar & Grill and Tropics. "The winning chili was awesome, and I know our customers are going to love being able to purchase it for lunch or dinner," said Matthew Enoch, Tropics manager. "Sizzle Ya Buds Chili," the winning recipe, is a family favorite, passed from grandmother to father to me, said Spc. Kenneth Brown, generator technician, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 325th Brigade Support Battalion. Brown's wife, Kristin, is the unit's FRG leader and like other FRGs, was excited to be involved with the fundraiser. "We're a new FRG, and we wanted to participate," she said. "My husband grew up competing in chili cook-offs with his father, and the unit knew he liked to cook," Brown continued, explaining how the pair was chosen to represent the unit. Rounding out the chili-filled evening were pie- and jalapeno-eating contests, raffle drawings and karaoke. Video games, air hockey and billiards were also available for check out from the Tropics. Winning FRGs at the 2008 FRG Chili Cook-OffPeople's ChoiceBest Chili
Aca,!Ac1st - A Co., 25th Special Troops Battalion
Aca,!Ac2nd - 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery RegimentShowmanship & Spirit
Aca,!Ac1st - 2-11th Field Artillery Regt.
Aca,!Ac2nd - 1-14th Inf. Regt. Judges' ChoiceBest Chili
Aca,!Ac1st - HHC, 325th Brigade Support Battalion
Aca,!Ac2nd - D Troop, 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regt. Hottest Chili
Aca,!Ac1st - 3-7th Field Artillery Regt.
Aca,!Ac2nd - A Co., 3rd Battalion, 325th Brigade Support BattalionShowmanship & Spirit
Aca,!Ac1st - 1-14th Inf. Regt.
Aca,!Ac2nd - 2-11th Field Artillery Regt.