By Monica Wood, FORT SILL FMWRAugust 11, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla. (Aug. 11, 2011) -- Most Fort Sill Soldiers, residents and employees already know that the catering program at the Patriot Club offers the food, service and atmosphere to create the best catered event, and now the Armywide community knows it, too.
The Patriot Club catering program was recognized for the second time since 2008 with the James A. Carroll Jr. Best in Class award for a catered event, for Fiscal 2010.
According to Tonya Phair, the manager of the Patriot Club, the club's catering program has been recognized because they go that extra mile to provide the best food and service to their customers.
"Our customers know that we pay attention to the quality and quantity of the food and the service we provide to our Soldiers, their families and the Lawton-Fort Sill community," said Phair, who has been manager since 2008. "We ensure that every event we cater is a success and our customers are satisfied and receive the personal touch from staff members."
Phair and her staff submitted a nomination packet for the best Army MWR catered event for the weeklong Fires Conference. The club selected its chuck wagon buffet as its submission.
"The event included a singing cowboy to compliment the ambience. Decorations included saddles, horseshoes, rustic chaffers, ropes and a wagon. Guest received a hat and bandana upon entering. The staff dressed in 'Oklahoma Cowboy' attire and provided a warm Oklahoma welcome to all in attendance," Phair said.
The dinner menu consisted of barbecue beef ribs, sliced brisket, grilled chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, relish tray, cornbread dessert.
Said Michael Borden, chief of Business Operations Division, "Hard work, creativity, and dedication made it possible for Family and MWR, the Patriot Club staff, Fort Sill, and the Lawton community to indulge these prestigious visitors with a little of the Wild West, allowing them to take with them positive, long-lasting memories of Southwest Oklahoma."
One of the team members for the catering program was executive chef Danny Mayberry, who plays a major role in the planning and execution of the events catered by the Patriot Club. Mayberry received the catering award from the International Military Community Executives Association for the Armed Forces at a ceremony July 21, in San Antonio.
Mayberry started planning menus and ordering supplies months before the event.
"We started the planning process months before the conference and then the staff and the entire Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation team helped to make the event a success," said Mayberry, who worked from 3 a.m. until 11 p.m. or midnight before doing it again the next day.
Mayberry said he ordered so much food in advance they had to have an extra refrigeration unit at Snow Hall to keep the food supply on hand. "I started preparing on Sunday for the Monday night Icebreaker Social and it didn't let up until Thursday afternoon."
Mayberry, who went from line cook to executive chef in less than four years, didn't stay in the kitchen for this event. He prepared the food and then went to the tent to ensure a great presentation with plenty of eye appeal. "It has to have a great presentation because that's the first thing the customer sees," he said. "We gave the customers five stars across the board for food, service and set-up."
The Fires Seminar, which is a huge event on Fort Sill and brings a lot of people to the installation from across the Army. Borden said the event took the entire club staff and many from other sections in FMWR to successfully cater the different events.
"It takes the entire club staff of 20 to do this event. They do it all from planning, setup, catering, teardown and cleanup," said Borden. "It's a team effort among Family and MWR to pull off an event of this caliber. We had help from staff at the golf course, the property warehouse, the bowling center and marketing to help with the conference."
Another aspect of the event included planning and coordinating the logistics of the expo during the seminar.
"We offered online registration for the attendees and the vendors, which allowed vendors related to the Fires industry to showcase their new technology at the expo," said Michele Flanagan, director of the Marketing Office for Family and MWR.
Attendees all had positive comments on the catering for the event. One retired officer said he especially liked the party the club catered at the Patriot Club because the staff decorated the room to make it feel like a real western event.
"The meal was outstanding and gave you a feeling as though you were eating from an old fashioned chuck wagon," said the retiree.
Borden said she was proud of the Patriot Club staff.
"We set the same high standards for every event we cater," she said. "All of our customers are important to us, and it's important to treat all customers the same whether it's a group of 500 or a group of 20."