Chapel community gathers for annual pre-holiday feast

  • Published
  • By Valerie Mullett
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
Every year they come for the fellowship and good food and this year was no exception.

More than 130 people gathered in the chapel annex Sunday to share in a chapel community holiday meal before everyone goes off to celebrate Thanksgiving in their own traditional ways later in the week. This year the meal was a "taste of luau."

The 341st Missile Wing Chaplain (Maj.) Keith Muschinske, got things started with a comical version of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock -- otherwise known as Diamondhead, Hawaii - while welcoming everyone to the feast.

"This is a time when we all give thanks for the many blessings in our lives," said Chaplain Muschinske. "One of the things I am most thankful for is Father [Francis McInnis] Mac, who is about to start his 42nd year as an auxiliary chaplain at Malmstrom."

With that, he turned the microphone over to Father Mac who led the attendants in prayer before opening the buffet line.

In the past, volunteers from both the Catholic and Protestant religious communities have volunteered to cook the turkeys, hams, mashed potatoes and gravy while others have brought the side dishes and desserts. This year, things changed just a bit.

When Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Roberts arrived here from Aviano Air Force Base, Italy, one of the first people he ran into was Trina Jackson. Mrs. Jackson was the chapel's contract caterer at Aviano and Chaplain Roberts was very familiar with her culinary skills.

"I knew when I ran into Trina, we had to get her on board at the chapel here," said Chaplain Roberts. "She is incredible."

That is exactly what he did and Mrs. Jackson has been cooking for various chapel functions at Malmstrom since September. This year, the community dinner organizers decided to put her talents to use for them, as well.

Starting at 7:15 a.m., she set the ovens to the perfect temperature and prepped 90 pounds of ham for cooking. By 11:30 a.m., they were ready to come out and be carved up for the feast. During that four hours of cooking time, she readied the other parts of the holiday meal and by 12:15 p.m., she was anxious to start serving.

"I prepared the three main ingredients - orange marmalade ginger glazed ham, fried green beans with bacon and holiday wild rice," said Mrs. Jackson. "The salads, side dishes and desserts were donated by the other chapel families."

Mrs. Jackson had some help in the kitchen and on the serving line from her husband, Master Sgt. Jimmy Jackson, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, and from other parishioners and members of the youth group with the pre-meal set-up.

One family, who has been coming to this outing for the last six years, was a little surprised there wasn't any turkey this year, but was thankful, none the less, for the opportunity to be part of the chapel festivities.

"It is really nice to get the children out and about in the community," said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Hansen, 341st Missile Wing Readiness NCO and father of three boys ranging in age from 2 to 7 years old. "It is important for them to see what fellowship is all about and to experience it first hand."