CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - The dim lights and live jazz band bolstered a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for all in attendance that evening.
Laughs and smiles filled the room as guests arrived, dressed in sharp business attire, and began socializing with one another, enjoying a drink from the bar and indulging in an assortment of gourmet Hors d’oeuvres.
Food Industry Serving Heroes Foundation, or FISH, hosted a Heroes Dinner event here Dec. 11 to honor 19 individuals from the 2nd Marine Logistics Group and recognize the impact of their valiant efforts.
"I can tell you from the bottom of our hearts, it's an honor to be here," said Paul Chapa, founder of FISH. "Tonight is not about anything but our heroes. We food guys are in a very interesting position. This is our seventh Heroes Dinner we have done for the Marines and this Heroes Dinner is about you, our service members."
Brig. Gen. Edward D. Banta, the commanding general of 2nd MLG, began his opening remarks by introducing the 19 honorees.
“Tonight is special,” said Banta. “Tonight is an opportunity when we can give back to the Marines, sailors and family members that give so much on a regular basis. We don’t get a chance to say thank you enough and we have been given the opportunity to do so courtesy of Mr. Paul Chapa and his organization, FISH.”
Celebrity chef Rick Tarantino made his presence known when he prepared a five course meal for the 19 service members and their families.
“I promise they will see some good food tonight,” said Tarantino. “We are preparing a lot of food, so save room for it all.”
His opening course was crab stuffed mushrooms over capellini pasta, followed by an arugula salad with cranberries and goat cheese tossed in bacon vinaigrette. The entrée was a rib eye steak with roasted potatoes and chopped carrots. An intermezzo consisting of cheese wedges with shoestring pear frites and raspberry drizzle cleansed the palate before enjoying a fresh blueberry and raspberry pastry with cream dessert.
Food service Marines assisted Tarantino in the preparation, cooking and plating of the meal.
After the five course meal was enjoyed by everyone in attendance, the spouses received orchids flown in from Chicago before concluding the night’s festivities.
"I didn't serve, but I have four daughters and two grandsons and I'm grateful for each and every one of you and what you do each and every day," said Chapa. "My kids and grandkids and our country are in great hands when there are people like [these honorees] asking nothing but to serve."
The individuals recognized were:
− Cpl. Ricky J. Bates, a vehicle recovery mechanic with Combat Logistic regiment 25, 2nd MLG.
− Sgt. Tyler B. Broome, Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd MLG.
− Cpl. Loren J. Bumgarner, an engineer equipment electrical systems technician with Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd MLG.
− Mrs. Dau Chapman, the district executive chef for all mess halls aboard Camp Lejeune.
− Cpl. Martin J. Cervantes, a tank recovery vehicle operator with CLR-25, 2nd MLG.
− Sgt. Sean N. Davis, a food service specialist with 2nd MLG.
− Petty Officer Third Class Mark D. Feltz, a hospital corpsman with 2nd Dental Battalion, 2nd MLG.
− Cpl. Braulio A. Heredia, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician with 8th ESB, 2nd MLG.
− Sgt. Kyle W. Hussin, a noncommissioned officer with CLR- 27, 2nd MLG.
− Sgt. Danielle N. Pothoof, a noncommissioned officer with CLR-27, 2nd MLG.
− Sgt. Parker S. Radcliffe, a combat engineer with 8th ESB, 2nd MLG.
− Staff Sgt. Daniel W. Ridgeway, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician with 8th ESB, 2nd MLG.
− Sgt. Robert J. Sampson, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician with 8th ESB, 2nd MLG.
− Cpl. Clayton Simon, a motor vehicle mechanic with CLR-25, 2nd MLG.
− Sgt. Jeffrey P. Stockton, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician with 8th ESB, 2nd MLG.
− Sgt. Colin J. Turner, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician with 8th ESB, 2nd MLG.
− Cpl. Ashleigh L. Vega, a field wireman with Wire Platoon, Communications Company, 2nd MLG.
− Staff Sgt. Graham H. Walker, a metrology technician with CLR-25, 2nd MLG.
− Petty Officer 2nd Class Lance S. Wyatt, a hospital corpsman with 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd MLG.