Story by Staff Sgt. Alexandria Brun
In a deployed location, it can be difficult to find things to look forward to. The Dining Facility Staff at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing is doing what they can to brighten the days of the Airmen, Soldiers and civilians that enter their doors.
“The Brighten Your Day (BYD) is to surprise and bring a little bit of joy to the Airmen,” said Je’Nean Newman, Dining Facility and Assistant Site Manager, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing. “We have taken a few things that we know people really like or even things that people don’t anticipate that the DFAC has the capacity to do, and surprise them on any random day.”
It is not something that the DFAC can do every day, but they hope to implement it from time to time to bring some joy to the 332nd.
“In the four months that I have been here, I have had at least 25 comments about pizza,” said Newman. “So we had some pizza shells, we got some cheese, and we found a way to make it happen.”
With over 1,000 people to feed per meal, the dining facility staff had a lot of preparation to do for the first BYD.
“Everything that was put on those pizzas had to be cut, and most of it was cut by hand,” said Newman. “We had sausages, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and more. We had to create our own pizza sauce, because we don’t have any here.”
In addition to the tedious preparation, the staff had to continue cooking pizzas to keep up with the demand.
“Because this has never been done before, we had to anticipate what the customers would want,” said Newman. “Once we opened it was game on. We had to adapt as the day went and keep up with the demand.”
Although it was a challenge, the lessons learned helped plan and prepare for future BYD surprises.
“People sending in comments that they appreciate it really fuels us and motivates us to go on to the next thing,” said Newman. “Now that we have tried something like that, we have a much better idea of how to accomplish trying new things in the future.”
After the success of the first BYD idea, the DFAC team is looking forward to bringing new ideas to life.
“I am just happy to be here,” said Newman. “It warms my heart to bring some joy to people here, especially during this time.”