Thanksgiving with a twist served to servicemen and women at Fort Gordon

Fort Gordon's dining facility #1 puts a special touch on Thanksgiving dinner.

FORT GORDON, Ga. (WJBF) –  Thousands who sacrifice their lives to keep us safe took part in Thanksgiving by enjoying a meal.  Fort Gordon held its annual Thanksgiving Day tradition where service men and women and their families got a special treat.

Thanksgiving is typically a time when you sit around a table full of food with your families. But if this is a time when you are serving this great country, you may not have that opportunity so, on post a lot of food and a little bit of a competition took place.

Dining Facility #1 Manager Linda Goodson shared with NewsChannel 6 how her area prepared for the big day.

“For some of the soldiers their families are not here so if they come in then we always try to make them feel at home.”

Nothing says home like some good cooking, including an over sized roast, ham, a turkey with a bow tie and some sides.  Home can even be a walking bird that gobbles. It’s the annual Fort Gordon tradition where more than 8,000 Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen are instead of serving, being served by officers and non-commissioned officers. Three dining facilities worked hard to fill bellies, but it’s also about being the best in show.

Installation Food Program Manager Carlos Keith, said the preparation actually starts weeks in advance.

“We have a training, a culinary arts two week training prior to Thanksgiving where you will see some of the displays and the culinary trays that the soldiers and the civilians put together.”

One-by-one servicemen and women entered dining facility #1 and picked up a tray to fill it with some of their favorite foods, foods made with a twist for edible decor such as mashed potato cake, a gingerbread house, very patriot with a peppermint flag, complete with KitKat doors and an ice sculpture and perhaps the most challenging food on the menu.

“The most difficult dish for me, I would have to say the beef ballotine,” said Victor Berry who works as H&B Food Services Cook 2. “Because we wanted to do something to separate ourselves from different buildings. Technically, you’re supposed to put one ballotine in the beef, we decided to put two and wrap it like a butterfly, so you can see two ballotines within the beef to make it different.”

Of course no meal would be complete without dessert cornucopia.

“And then you have a table full of candy bars,” said NewsChannel 6’s Renetta DuBose.

“Yes,” Goodson replied.

“Why?”

“Because soldiers love candy,” she explained. “They always love candy and I think candy is good. It goes with Thanksgiving.”

This is not only a time for those servicemen and women to be served, but also for their families as well.

The Commanding General’s Best Decorated Dining Facility Competition for Thanksgiving 2017 named its winner.  The winning facility was dining facility #1, which was featured in the story.

Photojournalist: Brandon Dawson

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