The 201st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade celebrated Thanksgiving with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 22 served at the unit’s dining facility, Courage Inn on Thanksgiving Eve.
The facility, staffed by food service specialists assigned to the 201st EMI Bde., and other I Corps units, provided a Mardi Gras theme for this year’s Thanksgiving meal.
To add to the holiday atmosphere, colorful streamers, multiple ice sculptures, and Mardi Gras accoutrements were placed throughout the facility. Even several DFAC Soldiers in traditional Mardi Gras attire could be found roaming Courage Inn, greeting dining Soldiers.
Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Nutt, one of the facility’s senior noncommissioned officers, said they served more than 400 people during the midday celebratory meal and was thankful for everyone on his team that helped make the event a success.
“It is our busiest day of the year,” Nutt said. “It’s like our Super Bowl. I’m thankful for all the people that spent the extra time outside their duty day to decorate and prepare all the food. This meal couldn’t have happened without them. I really appreciate them.”
Nutt estimated that more than 500 pounds of turkey, 275 pounds of ham, several dozen of shrimp, multitudes of side dishes and more than 75 assorted pies, cookies and other desserts were served at Courage Inn Nov. 22. A lot of effort goes into preparing that much food.
“Our night prep and decorating crew — probably about 12 people strong — worked 15 hours (Nov. 21) through (Nov. 22),” Nutt said. “Many of them were here (Nov. 21) from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. and returned at 3 a.m. to stay until dinner meal.”
Company, battalion and brigade command teams and cadre blocked off times that they served and ate with their Soldiers.
Captain Timothy McKraken, Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, 201st EMI Bde., was just one of the leaders who was on hand to serve Soldiers their Thanksgiving meal.
“This is a great opportunity for me to give back to the Soldiers because they are, day in and day out, putting in the work,” McKraken said. “So something as small as serving them during Thanksgiving, I think that shows appreciation from the command team point of view, as well as the Soldiers seeing us taking the time out of our schedules and putting it towardthem and it’s for them to see that.”