World's Largest Barbecue celebrates base/community relationship
By BRIAN BETHEL
A heaping helping of friendship and fun was served up to Dyess
personnel Saturday, all to say thanks for a job well done.
The annual Dyess barbecue - dubbed the "World's Biggest"
by promoters - celebrated everything the base does for the community.
And in light of Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall's Friday announcement
of an expected 20 percent increase in personnel, the event was
also a day to celebrate good things yet to come.
U.S. Rep. Charles Stenholm, who took time out to serve hungry
families at the event, said the barbecue was just one example
of the caring attitude that Dyess personnel say makes Abilene
and the base special.
"Dyess is the premiere B-1B base," Stenholm said. "Days
like today are what will keep it there."
Stenholm said the warmth extended to the base by the community
made servicemen and women feel welcome, something other cities
didn't always do.
Sponsored by the Military Affairs Committee of the Abilene Chamber
of Commerce, the event gives active-member personnel and their
families a chance to eat free as a gesture of Abilene's appreciation
for their service.
About an hour into the serving, about 3,000 had already gone through
the line. More than 10,000 servings were expected to be handed
out by the event's end.
"We've got the best reputation of any military base in the
nation, maybe even the world," said Ernest "Sonny"
Hermann, one of the organizers of the event who helped put together
the menu. "This is something they base is known for all over.
When you say Dyess, military people will say, 'Oh, that's where
they have the big barbecue.' "
Hermann has been at 26 of the 31 Dyess barbecues and said each
Among the food items available:
- 4,000 pounds of meat
- 300 gallons of beans
- 1,500 pounds of coleslaw
- 75 gallons of dill pickles
- 1,200 gallons of tea
About 200 volunteers staffed the event, helping serve food and
Among the luminaries serving were Abilene mayor Gary McCaleb,
city manager Lanny Lambert and Taylor County Judge Lee Hamilton.
Eaters came from all over, with some passing through taking the
opportunity to enjoy the fresh-cooked fare. Airmen of all ranks
dined together, and children cavorted happily, munching cookies
and dipping bread into pools of sauce.
For those stationed at Dyess, the meal had special meaning.
"A lot of bases make you feel like an outsider," said
Staff Sgt. Janet Pajerowski. "You feel like you're more at
home here because of things like this."
Master Sgt. Oscar Smith III said he's attended every barbecue
since he hit Dyess in 1993.
No other base/community relationship in his experience has been
as fine as that enjoyed by Abilene and Dyess, he said.
"In my 19 years of active duty, I've never been stationed
(anywhere) where they did something like this," he said.
"This is really great. Let me tell you, it's not like this
everywhere you go."
All content copyright 1996, Brian Bethel,
The Abilene Reporter-News and Reporter OnLine
Send a Letter to the Editor about This
Story | Start or Join A Discussion about This Story
Send the URL (Address) of This Story
to A Friend:
Abilene Reporter-News / Texnews / E.W. Scripps Publications