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JBER, Patrick win 2016 active-duty Hennessy awards

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, are winners of the 2016 John L. Hennessy Awards for active-duty Air Force food service operations.

Earlier this year, installations from six major commands were nominated from each region: the Eastern Hemisphere (Region 1) and the Western Hemisphere (Region 2). Teams of food industry experts then visited those installations to observe all aspects of their food and beverage program.

Each team of evaluators, known as Hennessy travelers, included an Air Force senior NCO food services expert. In addition to determining Hennessy Award winners, each team chose outstanding Airmen to attend the Armed Forces Forum for Culinary Excellence hosted by the National Restaurant Association Military Foundation at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, California.

“The John L. Hennessy competition is not just about the award,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Youngs, a Region 2 evaluator. “It is about embracing a 60-year tradition of food service excellence. This program offers a tremendous opportunity for teamwork, something the military and hospitality industry know is critical to success. Hennessy also provides a forum for industry leaders to interact with the military and offer expertise, advice and counseling at all levels.”

The Hennessy Awards Program was established in 1956 to promote excellence in customer service and food service support within the Air Force. Food service operations are under the direction of the Air Force Services Activity.

“The competition was very close since the bases had already been selected as the ‘best of the best’ in their respective regions,” said Master Sgt. Shaerica Waters, a Region 1 evaluator. “Paying strict attention to details made the difference in determining the winners.

“In Region 1, we witnessed some amazing training programs and great techniques showcasing healthy options, and all locations showed excellent teamwork,” she said. “In addition, the motivation and tenacity we observed at the installations showed a genuine care for customers.”

Youngs agreed, saying only a few points separated the different operations in Region 2 noting all MAJCOM nominees are winners.

“Being a part of the final group is a prestigious honor for an installation. This competition is tough, and not every base has the opportunity to compete at this level. As evaluators, it’s important to recognize them as champions for getting this far in the competition,” Youngs said. “What I’m most proud of is that every installation was up to the challenge and provided five-star service to their Airmen.”

Hennessy Travel Award individual winners were judged on professionalism, dress and appearance; leadership; knowledge, teamwork and attitude. These elite military professionals will attend the weeklong Armed Forces Forum for Culinary Excellence, hosted by the National Restaurant Association Military Foundation, at the Culinary Institute of America July 30-Aug. 6.

“They cook side by side with culinary chefs and receive instruction and interaction with industry veterans. These industry leaders describe and highlight the opportunities that the participants’ experience in military foodservice is preparing them for the civilian sector,” Youngs said.

The Hennessy Travel Award winners for Region 1 include:
- Staff Sgt. Gretchen Manalo, Hurlburt Field, Florida
- Senior Airman Michael Adamson, Little Rock AFB, Arkansas
- Airman Cristian Narino Garcia, Tyndall AFB, Florida

The Hennessy Travel Award winners for Region 2 include:
- Senior Airman Quentin Cole, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota
- Senior Airman Brennan Duhe, Travis AFB, California
- Airman 1st Class Trevor Boutin, Peterson AFB, Colorado
- Airman Ruta Bartkute, JB Elmendorf-Richardson

Installation awards will be presented May 15 in Chicago during the National Restaurant Association show. The travel awards will be presented during training at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in August.