Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Today is a special day and I’ve always known that , it is just that I did not know how special this one Thanksgiving would be for me. A few days ago I got a call from one of my fellow World Master Chefs Society member asking for help to support the USO and help set up a holiday buffet at DFW Airport for the troops going back to Iraq, Afganistan and Koweit after their two weeks leave was over. Yeah, I know, two weeks is not much when you are fighting a war on the other side of the world but I guess it is something anyway.

I never could have imagined how special these few hours would be and got to talk to and spend a few moments with our men and women in uniform. What an honor to mingle with our heroes ! Yeah, you heard it right as that is the best and only term we should use when we refer to them in our conversations.

We set up a traditional turkey day buffet with all the trimmings, sweets, beverages and all the good will we could provide.
I really enjoyed this time with the troops and hope to do it again whenever possible. How can we not do this ? It is a little effort that goes a long way and as Chefs, it is what we do best and I could not think of a more deserving bunch of people . They were all very appreciative and enjoyed it very much. On this traditional and all American holiday it the very least we can do.
I was there for a few hours and when I left to celebrate with my American family, my car was not touching the ground as it felt so good to just be part of such a great occasion.
So here is the deal, next time you find yourself within 10 feet of a soldier, a fireman, a police officer or a paramedic go thank them for their service and shake their hand !
I promise you , it won’t hurt at all, will only take a few seconds and it will make you feel great and engaged in the life of your country. You don’t have to wait for new year’s eve to make that resolution, you can do this anytime and know that you will make a big difference in the life of people that you might need someday.

I don't have to tell you about their destination but here it is:

As you see, saying good bye is a hard thing to do, very hard and by the way, real men DO cry and this was no different, especially when going back into harm's way. It was difficult for this young man to leave his family behind...........again !

I hope your Thanksgiving was as great as mine and I know that I will treasure these memories for a long, long time. Would that I do that again ? You bet ! And for as long that it takes to bring them all home. I hope you join us next year.
Finally a big thank you to Patrick Mitchell and all the USO volunteers for making it happen.

Chef Andre

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