Story and photos by Devin Fisher
Wolf and LaRochelle dining facilities claimed this year’s coveted Commanding General’s Best Decorated Dining Facility and Best Centerpiece awards during the annual Thanksgiving competition.
Brig. Gen. James H. Doty, acting senior commander, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, presented the awards to the Wolf DFAC staff Dec. 8 and to LaRochelle staff Monday.
“A tremendous effort on everyone’s part,” Doty said during the Wolf award presentation. “Thank you for a job well done.”
“It was a great competition … tough, tough to judge,” said Command Sgt. Maj. John A. Kurak, senior mission command sergeant major, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson.
Wolf, the 43rd Sustainment Brigade dining facility, took top honors in the large category while LaRochelle, the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) DFAC, garnered the small category awards during the Thanksgiving tradition.
“We were ecstatic, overjoyed, overwhelmed,” Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie A. Johnson, 43rd SB food adviser, said of winning the award. “The guys put in a lot of hard work, a lot of hours to bring it all together.”
She said this year’s theme of Candy Land “was outside the box” of the traditional Thanksgiving themes they’ve used in the past. She said they held a competition within the competition to determine which of the 14 culinary team members’ pieces would represent the DFAC.
Sgt. 1st Class Kevin A. Johnson, Wolf DFAC manager, said winning the award has boosted the morale of his staff.
“I told them it was going to be challenging and take a lot of hours,” he said.
Kevin Johnson said his staff and Soldiers detailed to assist from the 3rd and 4th brigade combat teams were divided into planning, culinary and decorating teams.
He said his team was confident it would win the competition, noting they had worked hard and worked as a team.
“For a couple weeks it got kind of hectic for us, because we lost a couple members of the team (to field missions and school) … and we didn’t know how we we’re going to pull off the cornucopia,” said Spc. Wendy Watson, Wolf food service specialist. The team found a new recipe for the cornucopia that would help it dry quicker.
“We accomplished everything we needed to accomplish,” she said.
Spc. Krystal McGee, food service specialist who single-handedly made the Wolf winning turkey centerpiece, was proud of her team.
“I’m really impressed by the work we did this year,” McGee said. “You are only as strong as your weakest member … everyone did a very outstanding job. Everyone was dedicated; they put in long hours, time away from their Families, to give other Soldiers an experience of home and comfort.”