Employees have a responsibility and a chance to make a difference, the garrison commander of Fort Belvoir, Va., said Nov. 13 during the Defense Logistics Agency’s BBQ Wars fundraiser for the Combined Federal Campaign at the McNamara Headquarters Complex.
Guest speaker Army Col. Gregory Gadson spoke to attendees about the importance of participating in the CFC, especially on the heels of Veterans Day.
“Veterans Day is our time as a country to recognize the sacrifices of all that served, that wear the uniform, their families, and even those that don’t wear the uniform but still support us; it’s about service,” he said. “I appreciate the fact that you all can recognize the kind of spirit that’s shared with Veterans Day. It’s about contributing to an effort that is greater than ourselves, that’s what Veterans Day recognizes. And our CFC campaign is a chance to participate, a chance to give, a chance to make an overt action to support a cause that is greater than ourselves. I appreciate you recognizing that those two efforts are very similar.”
For Gadson, a double leg amputee and motivational speaker, advice that his father gave him long ago has always reminded him to find a way to give.
“Everybody is always concerned about the economy and the challenges that we have,” he said. ‘But we all have a responsibility to continue to do the things that make our nation what it is. So I’ll pass on some advice that my dad gave me a long time ago. And he put it simply. He said, ‘Son, if you can live off a dime, then you can live off of nine cents.’ What he was telling me is that you can always give. You can always find time and a way to give. That’s something that I’ve carried with me throughout my life. So when I feel like I can’t, I think about it and I find a way to give. As you all begin your CFC efforts, we can all find a way to give.”
After his speech, Gadson kicked-off the taste testing of the four BBQ entries. He was joined by judges from agencies in the headquarters complex, including the Defense logistics Agency, the Defense Contract Audit Agency and the Air Force Petroleum Agency. Army Staff Sgt. Sara Misorek was declared the winner. Misorek, a chaplain’s assistant in the DLA Chaplain’s Office, cooked her BBQ for 13 hours, she said.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Al Applewhaite, a guest judge from DLA Information Operations, said the hard work and effort by the BBQ contestants made the competition outstanding.
“Everybody did an outstanding job,” he said. “You can see each person took their time and effort into making this right, and I think overall, it was the best I’ve tasted in a long time. … it was very well done. And they took the time to give to CFC, so I think we hit the mark on all levels today.”
Ryan Dondero, a contestant from DLA Energy, entered a pork BBQ with a sweet and spicy sauce into the competition.
“I had participated in a BBQ competition with my previous company, so I decided it would be fun to do [here],” he said, adding that his organization’s CFC coordinator encouraged him.
Kathy Cutler, DLA’s chief information officer and this year’s CFC vice-chair, said challenges employees have faced this year have made donations to the CFC campaign more important than ever.
“I know this has been a challenging year all the way around, but I know that the workers here will rise to the challenge that we have and donate to the CFC with everything that they can for all the folks out there that are less fortunate,” she said. “I’d like to thank everybody for participating in all of our events that we’ve had so far, and I would encourage them to continue to do so, to get out and ‘make it possible.”
Although this year’s CFC theme is “Make it Possible,” that hasn’t always been easy this year. The CFC campaign originally kicked off Oct. 2, but due to the government shutdown, all fundraising activities were stopped a short time later. After the government resumed work Oct. 17, DLA’s CFC core team decided to hold a football-themed pep rally to re-energize the campaign. The Oct. 30 event featuring guest speaker Mike Nelms, a former Washington Redskins football player, allowed employees to participate in sports activities such as mini golf, beanbag toss, huddle running and tactical drills.
In addition, a car show held at the McNamara Headquarters Complex was so popular, organizers are considering making it an annual event. More than 350 attendees browsed among 34 cars ranging from classic to modern in the Nov. 6 show. DLA Information Operations employee Michael Wesley won “Best of Show” for his Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Other winners in the car show were:
-- Department of the Army employee Walter Best , 2nd Place in the “Best in Show” category for his Mercedes SL65 .
-- Army Lt. Col. William Harris, of the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve, 3rd Place in the “Best in Show” category for his Cadillac Series 62.
-- Air Force Capt. Devin Long of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, “Most Popular” car for his 2013 Tesla Model S.
As of Nov. 8, DLA has raised more than $113,500 towards its national capital area CFC goal of $425,000. DLA Logistics Operations is in the lead with 66 pledges totaling $29,560 in contributions, followed closely by DLA Information Operations with 34 pledges totaling $26,875.