This year the Thunderbird and Weinstein Village Dining Facilities, or DFACs, held a competition to see which could put on the best Thanksgiving dinner. Weinstein Village won the Commanding General’s Best Decorated Dining Facility, while Thunderbird DFAC was honored as the runner-up.
On Dec. 12, Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commanding general, United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Fairley, USAICoE command sergeant major, presented the awards.
Judging the Thanksgiving dinners, Fairley, along with Command Sgt. Major Roger Daigle, garrison command sergeant major, reviewed the overall presentation of each DFAC. According to Kendall Brown, installation food manager, they evaluated the two DFAC’s decorations, menu items and atmosphere.
Sgt. 1st Class Donald Stewart, 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Thunderbird Dining Facility manager, described his DFAC’s theme this year as “Being Thankful for Families.”
“It wasn’t a Charlie Brown theme or a petting zoo, it was just ‘be thankful for Families: a traditional Thanksgiving’ — getting back to the roots of the holiday,” Stewart said, adding the goal was to have dinner attendees reflect upon what they were thankful for and enjoy themselves.
Fairley praised the Thunderbird Dining Facility, calling the meal “superb.” Ashley thanked the Soldiers and civilians for their work ethic, telling them about his experience working late at night as a dish washer in college.
“I always found myself [at work] until one or two o’clock in the morning, cleaning the place up before we got out,” Ashley said. “It’s hard work; it’s tedious stuff.”
At Weinstein Village, Fairley told the DFAC personnel the dinner was ideal for young Soldiers.
“[When] you’re 19 years old and away from home for such traditional holidays, it’s very tough, but for those young people to come here and have a great meal, I [saw] them smile,” he explained.
Like Thunderbird, Weinstein Village also followed a traditional Thanksgiving theme, however, one food item stood out above the rest in making the meal unique — the seared duck, served with orange marmalade sauce with hints of honey and ginger. The entree was a hit with the Soldiers; the DFAC prepared 300 pounds and served every piece.
“Normally I try to throw a special item into Thanksgiving every year, so this year’s seared duck sounded appropriate being ‘Duck Dynasty’ was one of the hits for the year and the employees said, ‘let’s do duck,’” said Allen Lewis, Blackstone Consulting Incorporated project manager, Weinstein Village Dining Facility.
This year the Thunderbird Dining Facility held its dinner on Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, while the Weinstein Village Dining Facility held its meal on Thanksgiving Day.