ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, OK, UNITED STATES
Story by Staff Sgt. Kenneth Norman
ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Combine one part teamwork with equal parts of professionalism, quality and skill. This is the recipe for excellence, which Hangar 97 Dining Facility members follow daily and is why they are nominated for the 2019 John L. Hennessy Trophy.
The John L. Hennessy trophy is an annual award presented to the best food service program in the United States Air Force.
“I believe our team was selected [as a nominee] for the Hennessy Award because we are high-performing, quality-driven and hardworking team,” said Tech. Sgt. Allison Cain, Dining Facility manager assigned to the 97th Force Support Squadron. “We go above and beyond and do what it takes to not only provide the best quality, but also the best customer service and ensure that we do the job to the best of our ability.”
The Hennessy Trophy is based on the entire scope of an installation’s food service program exhibiting excellence in management effectiveness, force readiness support, food quality, employee and customer relations, resource conservation, training and safety awareness.
“I think we are being recognized for the positive attitudes that we come to work with every day,” said Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Pease-Keller, a food services technician from the 97th FSS. “We stand out from other DFACs because of the effort we put in, the hours that we work, the variety of food that we have.”
Hangar 97 will be competing against Kirtland AFB, N.M. and Eielson Air Base, Alaska, for the Hennessey Trophy and the distinction of best DFAC in the Air Force. This is the first time in more than two decades that Hangar 97 has been nominated for the trophy.
“It’s a phenomenal feeling,” said Chef Kendra McConnaha, executive chef assigned to the Hangar 97 DFAC. “Altus Air Force Base hasn’t been recognized in over 20 years and this team had done it. I am so proud of them. I think the key factor for [Hangar 97] being recognized at such high levels is that we are ‘one team, one fight,’ and we have joined together as one big family and have made this possible ,with the help of our outside community as well as our family here on Altus AFB.”
As part of the Hennessey Trophy award program, each dining facility nominated must undergo a weeklong evaluation, which is conducted by a four-member Hennessey Evaluation Team, made up of two civilian and two Air Force evaluators. The categories evaluated are: Kitchen Operations, Serving and Dining Operations, Training, Personnel and Readiness, Sanitation Repair Maintenance and Management. Whichever base scores the highest will be named the winner of the 2019 Hennessy Trophy.
“It is a great team here, with not only the civilian employees, but the military employees as well. Everything from the storeroom to the contract cleaners, we work hard; we work as a team to get it done and do the best that we can,” said Cain. “I would say the thing that makes this dining facility excellent is the people … Here at Hangar 97 we have an awesome team, we all help each other out.”
Hangar 97 has been evaluated and will find out if they were selected for the 2019 Hennessey Trophy by March 2019.
“The Hennessy award recognizes the top dining facilities in the Air Force. We won for Air Education and Training Command, so we are going up against two other bases and are hoping to bring it home,” Cain said. “Without the teamwork and professionalism and quality of food that we offer here, we would not have been selected and I believe we are truly deserving.”