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Seymour Bar-B-Que wins the 2020 Hennessy Award

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mary McKnight
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. — The 916th Force Support Squadron walked away winners of the 2020 John L. Hennessy
Award food service competition at Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia, Jan. 23-26, after their first time entering the competition.

John L. Hennessy, a hotel executive, was appointed to the Hoover Commission; whose task was to improve military food operations. In this role Hennessy recommended the military services adopt a food competition, to encourage better management and command support of the food services.

Hennessy’s recommendation became reality in 1957, when the Hennessy Awards were established. Although all Major Commands were encouraged to participate, due to conflicting schedules, the Reserve and Guard were not always afforded this opportunity.

In the spirit of equal opportunity to their Active-Duty counterparts, the Reserve and Guard Commands found a way to service their members.

Within recent years the Hennessy Award program adopted a facility at Dobbins AFB, allowing both components to compete in a neutral territory, a makeshift kitchen, against each other.

This year the 916th FSS showcased their skills at the award competition and marked their spot in history.

“We let them know,” said Master Sgt. Danielle K. Downs, 916th FSS unit deployment manager. “We haven’t have a DFAC (dining facility) in two years. At the end of the competition they (the judges) were like you can’t tell that you guys haven't cooked in two years.”

Despite this challenge, the 916th FSS did not shy away when presented with the opportunity to compete in the food service competition.

“I didn’t have any concerns because I knew we picked a strong team,” said Tech Sgt. Royal M. Rowlett, 916th FSS NCO in charge of foods. “As long as your leadership is good, everything else will flow. It starts from the top.”

Turns out the team and the food was good.

Adding a Southern twist on bar-b-que, the 916th FSS wowed the judges with their Seymour Bar-B-Que chicken, pork chops, coleslaw, gumbo salad bar and banana pudding.

In the words of Senior Airman LaQesha D. Knox, a 916th FSS sustainment member, “we brought our ‘A’ game.”