Local

April 4, 2014

Dining facility takes home 58th annual Hennessy Award

In an effort to give healthier options, the dining facility recently included a sandwich bar in the menu options.

Just over two years since their re-opening, the Joshua Tree Dining Facility claimed the title of “Best Food Service Program” in the U.S. Air Force when they were awarded the 58th annual John L. Hennessy trophy.

The DFAC received their last Hennessy Award in 2002.

The facility and staff were visited by evaluators from the National Restaurant Association Feb. 17-18 to see their kitchen operations, serving and dining operations, training, personnel and readiness, sanitation repair maintenance and management.

“It’s a normal day for us,” said Paul Martin, 412th Force Support Squadron, Food Service officer.

Randy Spaulding, Rice Services Inc. project manager added, “As long as you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing each and every day, having a Hennessey evaluation team visit is no different than having an airman basic walk through the door.”

According to Martin, the evaluators see different methods of service at various bases to best suit the base’s mission. What works at Edwards, may not work at another site. Something “very unique” to Edwards is the geographical location of the buildings on base.

“There are some security forces Airmen that work at the [far away] Rocket Lab that we support,” said Martin. “We provide them the meals that are needed, not just a cold meal, but we accommodate above and beyond by preparing them some hot meals. We take time for them because we understand their schedule.”

The facility also tries to accommodate people with dietary restrictions by offering items like veggie burgers and soy milk. The salad bar was expanded with additional greens and they recently included a sandwich bar in the menu options.

“For me the Hennessey is the highlight of everyone’s career that worked in food service. It’s a testimony that a theme can be formed, even in a short time, as long as everybody puts their mind and heart into it,” said Martin.

The Joshua Tree Dining Facility claimed the title of “Best Food Service Program” in the West Region (Region 2) of the U.S. Air Force when they were awarded the 58th annual John L. Hennessy trophy April 1.

The team effort that Martin described included more than just the men and women working in the facility. He said base Leadership has been “committed to our Airmen’s needs.” [412th] Civil Engineering ensures that the building is receiving water and power and Contracting makes sure the needs of the contractor are being met.

“Team effort is really the key for us of winning this Hennessey,” said Martin.

Spaulding added, “The evaluators really hounded on our team work, so it was a great feeling to know that we were looking in the right direction.”

Ina Norris is a baker for Rice Services Inc. and has been baking since 1987. In 1995, Norris came to Edwards from the San Diego Coast Guard Station with her husband who serves in the Navy. When the dining facility closed in 2006, she continued to serve the community at Club Muroc until the dining facility re-opened in 2011.

“We are kind of like the moms and dads of the servicemembers away from home,” said Norris. “We make sure they eat right and have good food. They work for us, for the country, so we have to make sure they are well taken care of.”

Norris knows the Airmen who dine in the facility by name and sees them “like a family.”

Courtesy photograph

Maria Bowman, Supervisor, Rice Services, has also been at the DFAC long enough to remember the last Hennessy in 2002. During the time that the facility was closed she worked in lodging.

“The day they called me to come to work we all cleaned this area here, the dining hall,” said Bowman. “I was so happy that we won, it was amazing. Everybody was so nervous.”

Norris added that Rice Services will be creating a coin for all 35 employees working at the DFAC.

Staff Sgt. Mia Johnson, 412th Force Support Squadron, joined the dining facilities team at the end of January.

“You hear about the Hennessey Award, you see it in your training and it’s what you want to try to strive for working in food services,” said Johnson. “To come here and they say, ‘Okay, we’ve already won the first [Hennessy] and we need your help to win the second one,’ that was a great feeling.”

Johnson, who has been in the military six years, stated that she could count on one hand the number of people she knew that were part of a winning Hennessy team.

“It makes me want to be a part of the team and contribute in any way that I can,” said Johnson. “It lets me see that you can work as team. Everything they preach about teamwork, getting the job done, you can do it and I actually see it.”

The team hopes to receive their Hennessy Trophy in May.

“I’m very proud of the dining facility and their hard work and dedication. I think the camaraderie and exceptional customer service towards the dining facility patrons is what set them apart from all of the other nominees for Hennessy,” said Capt. Karena Faust, 412th FSS, Sustainment Services flight commander. “They definitely deserved this award and I know they’ll go on to win many more.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs April 17, 2015

STEM Expo The Antelope Valley Union High School District needs volunteers to serve as judges for the first Annual STEM Expo 5:30 p.m., April 27 at Eastside High School. Students will be evaluated in seven categories: Environmental/Agricultural Innovation, Invention, Reverse Engineering, Robotics and Computer Science, Rube Goldberg, Science Fiction, and Science Inquiry. Eastside High School...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Command chief shares secrets to success for enlisted

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Chief Master Sgt. David Smith, 412th Test Wing command chief hosted a mandatory enlisted all-call at the base theater April 13. Chief Master Sgt. David Smith, 412th Test Wing command chief ...
 
 
fun-run2

Highlighting what’s important

Zack Gilbertson, dependent, passes one of the last color splash checkpoints during the Color Splash Fun Run held April 8, 2015, around the Rosburg Fitness Center. Gilbertson finished first in the male runner category and Jamie ...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Edwards AFB’s EOD team clears UXOs in Cal City, local areas

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber From left: Airman 1st Class Max Mitchell, Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Barnes and Staff Sgt. Jacob Cumbo of the 412th Civil Engineering Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, were dispatched to Californ...
 
 
spotlight

Community networking spotlight

Courtesy photograph Edwards Air Force Base has for many years valued the support of the local community. One of the ways the base stays connected is through the Air Force Materiel Command’s Community Liaison Program. Four...
 
 

Spring season = Edwards Spring Clean-Up

Winter is finally over and spring has arrived!  Despite the cold mornings or the blustery winds Edwards has battled, the weather is definitely turning warmer. Just like the things people do every year at home, clearing winter debris blown into yards or removing dead plants and weeds, at Edwards AFB has an annual event known as Spring Clean-Up Week....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>