Months of planning and scheduling orders came to fruition, as Soldiers and Family members of the 1st Infantry Division entered the post’s dining facilities Nov. 21 and 22.
Fort Riley’s Demon Diner, Devil’s Den and Cantingy DFACs served up Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of the post’s Soldiers and their Families.
“All the hard work that goes into preparing these meals pays off in the end when you see the Families coming together and just the gratitude that our Soldiers, who have been working extremely hard, receive the day of the meal,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tara Garner, officer in charge of the Demon Diner’s Thanksgiving meal, which served about 900 people.
Planning began in September for the Thanksgiving meals, which included Family-orientated activities, as well as the post’s and units’ leadership serving the meals to their Soldiers.
“It feels great. I take great pride (in serving the Thanksgiving meal). I’ve done this every year that I’ve served (in the Army),” said Col. Mike Morgan, commander, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div. “The leaders are serving their Soldiers and Families as a gesture of respect and appreciation for the hard work, commitment and professionalism that our Soldiers and Families exert each and every day in the defense of this great nation.”
Morgan said Soldiers of his brigade have missed two Thanksgiving meals during the past six years because of their unit’s service overseas.
“You never know when your next call to duty is.
Certainly over the last 10 years, these Soldiers have served a great deal overseas, so we cherish the time that we have with our Families, and we encourage our Soldiers to enjoy these opportunities,” he said.
For Pfc. Meandra Dusty, this Thanksgiving marked the first one she was unable to spend with her Family in the Virgin Islands.
“It’s very tough, but I’m very thankful that they cooked such a great meal for us,” she said.
Throughout the meals, volunteer judges from across the division and installation participated in sampling each diner’s food items, as well as viewing the decorations placed around each facility in honor of the season. On Nov. 27, representatives from each DFAC participated in an award ceremony, where Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie, senior commander, Fort Riley, announced Cantigny as this year’s overall winner for its Thanksgiving meal.
“It was a tough competition, but it was in great fun,” MacWillie said. “It was enjoyable to go out and see Families together enjoying a Thanksgiving meal.”
By Stephanie Hoff
1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs
Stephanie Hoff | 1ST INF. DIV.
Maj. Andrew Ryan, rear detachment, DHHB, 1st Inf. Div, carves a turkey Nov. 22 for participants enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving meal offered at the post’s Cantigny Dining Facility.
Stephanie Hoff | 1ST INF. DIV.
Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie, senior commander, Fort Riley, right, presents Col. Jeffery Broadwater, commander, 2nd ABCT, center, and Sgt. 1st Class Eric Grooms, senior NCOIC, Cantigny Dining Facility, with the commander’s cup for the best DFAC serving the best Thanksgiving meal in 2012.