254 Blend now brewing hot cups of coffee for Soldiers at Fort Cavazos

By Samantha Harms, Fort Cavazos Public AffairsApril 3, 2024

Three people standing and holding clear mugs with coffee pose for a photo.
Chontrelle Sturdivant, the Installation Food Program manager, Col. Lakicia Stokes, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos commander, and Lt. Col. Richard Martinez, Army Field Support Battalion Fort Cavazos commander, pose for a photo holding hot cups of coffee poured at The 254 Blend, located inside the Operation Iraqi Freedom Dining Facility. (U.S. Army photo by Samantha Harms, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: SAMANTHA HARMS) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Soldiers can now enjoy a hot cup of coffee at The 254 Blend, which officially opened March 22, inside the Operation Iraqi Freedom Dining Facility here.

“Welcome to our latest quality of life project, The 254 Blend,” Lt. Col. Richard Martinez, Army Field Support Battalion Fort Cavazos commander, said. “The senior mission commander challenged the installation’s team to create a coffee bar with good quality coffee available for Soldiers in warrior restaurants. With that guidance, we aggressively designed to concept, implemented the plan and executed the timeline.

“The result is The 254 Blend,” he continued, “a premium coffee bar with choice architecture that entices Soldiers to dine within the dining facilities, creating a preferred culinary destination.”

The coffee bar is just one new project that the Installation Food Program has implemented across the installation.

“These coffee bars are a small yet important project as we continue to improve the quality of life on Fort Cavazos,” explained Chontrelle Sturdivant, the Installation Food Program manager. “Every goal we complete as a team reminds us of why Fort Cavazos is indeed the Great Place. With the support of Plan-A-Signs, Nescafe and Dunkin’ Donuts, we were able to install a modern coffee bar that provides a variety of premium coffees for half the price of the economy.

“We are dedicated to expanding and modernizing current food services operations,” she added, “and will continue to improve the program by incorporating new initiatives across the III Armored Corps and Fort Cavazos installation.”

Dozens of people were in attendance for the coffee bar’s unveiling, including the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Cavazos commander, Soldiers from Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers and representatives with program partners.

“(Dunkin’ Donuts) just wants to support the troops in the military bases,” explained Heather Malkani, Central Texas Territory sales manager with J.M. Smucker Co., who owns Dunkin’ Donuts. “We actually have a whole team just on military, so that’s all we do. … We want to support the troops. There seems to be a lack of marketing for the troops to bring out the wow for the DFACs, so we got on board (for this project) … and we (said), ‘We’re with you. Let’s do it together.’”

Those in attendance received free giveaways, such as mugs and bags, along with free coffee and donuts.

The hot coffee gave attendees a chance to reflect on the impact of the new coffee bar.

“Regardless of a rank, it offers a chance for those single Soldiers to be open to the area and having more opportunities to do this instead of (having) to spend the money, … (have) transportation,” shared Spc. Hagen Rhodes, 36th Engineer Brigade. “We are limited on resources and having more resources already in our compound or in our footprint are easier to access. And it makes it easier for Soldiers to want to come not only to get food but also have a coffee as well.”

Spc. Gregory Deadman, 36th Eng. Bde, who was also in attendance, agreed with Rhodes.

“It’s a good incentive to go to eat at the (dining facility),” he said, “which saves money because whether we (eat) at the DFAC or not, they still take out BAS (basic allowance for subsistence). So, this just makes it more attractive to go.”

The 254 Blend is open from 7:30 to 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 6:30 p.m. weekdays as well as from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 6:30 p.m. on weekends.