BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, LA, UNITED STATES
Story by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Martinez
The Red River Dining Facility may not currently be bustling with crowds of dining Airmen because of social distancing and the implementation of health protection measures, but the staff is still providing top-notch service with piping hot meals to go.
“We are still open and offering a variety of different selections,” said Tech. Sgt. Roberto Rodriguez, 2nd Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of the dining facility. “We’ve got premade salads, wraps, sandwiches, cheese and crackers with different types of meat cut up, we have yogurt parfaits and a number of different things for individuals who have certain dietary restrictions … We’re still here popping – anybody can come in to get a bite to eat.”
While dining options for Barksdale personnel are currently limited to on-base eateries, the DFAC staff has made adjustments to continue offering positive service. No more than 10 patrons are allowed in the DFAC at once, markers are placed six feet apart in front of the serving line for social distancing, and hand sanitizer is readily available throughout the facility.
“Everybody must do their part, so what we’re preparing – literally cooking from hand and into someone’s mouth – our staff is practicing the most stringent health and sanitation practices,” Rodriguez said.
Other notable changes at the DFAC include: all DFAC personnel currently wear face masks, seating areas are closed off, and different food and cooking stations have been reduced. According to Rodriguez, these temporary adjustments are a result of modifying the work schedule to allow social spacing between personnel.
Additionally, customers may notice certain grab-and-go items are also spaced apart on shelves. Despite these changes and challenging times, Rodriguez and his team show dedication to their customers by fulfilling their role in the mission so the Airmen that rely on them can fulfill theirs.
“This is nothing that we can’t get through together,” said Airman Tony Miller, 2nd FSS DFAC shift worker. “We do our part in the DFAC, and they do their work and their jobs, it’s another way we can get through it together.”
Rodriguez shares Miller’s sentiment and said the DFAC has something for everyone. Intent on keeping the customer happy, he also knows that it’s a trying time for all his peers.
“I would say for customers to be adaptable and flexible and just know that we’re still going to take care of you,” Rodriguez said.