Keeping spirits healthy and full

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Bryan Crane
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Its 10:59 a.m. and the line of hungry airman has already begun to form outside the Ozark Inn Dining Facility.
Lunch begins at 11 a.m., however, the workers inside the Ozark Inn have been working since 4:30 a.m., preparing daily meals and planning for the upcoming Thanksgiving Day Meal.

"Our mission here is to support the airmen living in the dorms with a place to get food every meal without having to worry about money," said Laurel Filbert, 509th Force Support Squadron assistant dining facility manager.

Currently a 16-member team, the staff works 24/7 in three shifts to provide meals for an average of 3,000 people each week.

Although short-manned due to deployments, the members of the dining facility still prepare four meals a day for airmen and other eligible Team Whiteman members

"Meals schedules are set by the headquarters agency," Filbert said. "It's a 28-day menu that after the first 14 days the lunch meals switch to dinner and the dinner to lunch."

The Ozark Inn management also works with the Health and Wellness Center to provide a charting system to let customers know how healthy each food option is.

"We have a program called 'Go for Green' where we color code all the meal options with red, yellow or green label," Filbert said. "Green is for the healthy choices that should be eaten often, yellow are for items you should eat sometimes and red is for items you should rarely eat."

Trying to keep the airmen fed and healthy are the main goals for the dining facility added Filbert. But these airmen also have an extensive culinary knowledge and are able to prepare all meals by following the recipes correctly.

"It's great to know I can get three meals a day without having to worry about money or anything," said Dylan Jarvis, 509th Munitions Squadron.

Filbert also has high praises for the airmen who work in the dining facility, as they are short-manned yet are still able to produce high-quality food.

"I hate saying we have been short-manned," Filbert said. "But we have been and or airmen have stepped up, working 12-hour shifts, yet they don't complain and they continue to produce great products."

On Thanksgiving Day, Filbert will have additional assistance as Team Whiteman's commanders, chiefs, first sergeants and their spouses will help out by serving diners.

The Ozark Inn Dining Facility staff will also work with the Airman & Family Readiness Center to prepare a "Hearts Apart" meal for deployed spouses.

Editor's Note: This feature is part of a five-part series entitled "Working through the Holidays," highlighting Whiteman Airmen and units who continue to perform the mission throughout the holiday season.