JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The 433rd Airlift Wing and 960th Cyberspace Wing senior leaders teamed up with their honorary commanders to serve a Thanksgiving meal to military members dining at the Live Oak Dining Facility Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Nov. 2.
Even though Thanksgiving is not until Nov. 28, Reserve Citizen Airmen typically drill one weekend per month, thus it was the only opportunity to serve them lunch.
This year was the first time the wings invited their honorary commanders to participate in this day of giving. Throughout the lunch period, wing leadership and honorary commanders took shifts serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal, provided by the Live Oak Dining Facility, who prepared the feast of turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and sweet potatoes.
After their shift of serving, commanders went out in the dining area and had lunch and visited with the Airmen while they dined.
"I think it's awesome that the Commanders come and serve their Airmen,” said Kayla L. Jones, Allen Tharp LLC and Live Oak Dining Facility assistant project manager. “It boosts the morale of all the service members, and it also boosts our morale as well, to have them here serving with us. It's an honor."
These events help to encourage discussions and foster relations between military and community leaders as well as within the ranks of the military organizations.
"It's important to me because, during my service, I remember organizations coming in, the support of the community, and I remember how it made me feel,” said honorary commander Andrew Camplen from the Pvt. Bruno Phillip Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 688, post commander. “Being in the service, being away from family and away from home, but still having that love of people coming in and providing something like a Thanksgiving meal, or a care package, is truly dear to my heart, and that's why I'm here today.”
“This is awesome,” said Col. Terry W. McClain, 433rd AW commander. “Getting our honorary commanders involved was tremendous. They often meet with our senior leadership but don’t often get to meet with their Airmen. Today, they were not only able to serve food, but also talk to them while eating lunch.”
“The mayor had an awesome time,” McClain said. “He really appreciated the opportunity to come out and participate. A lot of the reservists are in his constituency, so it gives him a little extra insight into how our people are doing and what they do here.”
“In San Antonio, we take pride in being ‘Military City, USA,’ and we consider our entire city to be an installation,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “It's not a slogan; it's a way of life. That's why opportunities like serving an early Thanksgiving meal for our Airmen, is enjoyable but also so critical. Civilians and service members are part of one family, and together, we ensure our nation's defense."
The Honorary Commanders Program was developed to encourage an exchange of ideas, share experiences and foster friendship between key members of the local civilian community and the Joint Base San Antonio military community. The program provides a unique opportunity for the San Antonio area community leaders to shadow wing leaders.
Honorary Commanders, who took time out of their busy lives to serve a Thanksgiving meal to the Airmen were: Laura Cabanilla, vice president community relations, community development officer, San Antonio Business Journal; Tommy Calvert, Bexar County commissioner; Andrew Camplen, state assistant adjutant, Dept. of Texas; Roy Elizondo, council member, City of Fair Oaks; Wayne Fagan, chair, Dee Howard Foundation; Robert Imler, community & government relations consultant; Andrea Knight, asst. vice president, Frost Bank; John Leal, director, local government relations, CPS Energy; Ron Nirenberg, mayor, San Antonio; Clay Richmond, vice president, JSWC Ltd; John Thurman, owner, Heart of Texas Realty; Craig Veltri, founder, Veltri Interests, Inc.; and Steve Young, vice president of information technology, VIA Metropolitan Transit.