Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Col. Matthew Bresko, commander of the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade, left, hands a plate full of food to a Fort Drum soldier Tuesday morning during the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

FORT DRUM — The mouth-watering smell of roasted turkey, stuffing and loaded mashed potatoes wafted through the air Tuesday morning long before soldiers entered the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post for the annual Thanksgiving meal service.

The doors opened at 11 a.m. on the dot, with smiles painted across the faces of all those involved — the kitchen staff that began preparing the once-a-year meal a whole day prior, and the soldiers, many of whom would be away from family this holiday season.

“Being a soldier is hard as it is,” Sgt. Bria Mason said. “It’s very hard on families, so for us to be able to provide a meal like this … it’s very important to us.”

Sgt. Mason, who was one of many that had a hand in creating this year’s Thanksgiving meal, said the work is hard and time consuming, but the team loves doing it.

“It’s so much to do, but we have a great team back there,” she said. “When you love doing something, it comes out great.”

All the preparation for the Thanksgiving meal starts some two months prior, said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Mahon, Muleskinner Dining Facility manager.

Over the course of his career in the military, he’s orchestrated 17 different Thanksgiving meals.

“It gets easier and easier as you do them,” he said. “Just like a routine.”

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Sgt. Bria Mason, right, gets help scooping macaroni and cheese into a container to be served before the start of the annual Thanksgiving meal service Tuesday morning at the Muleskinner Dining Facility at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

In the Muleskinner Dining Facility alone, Sgt. Mahon said about 600 people were expected to come through for the special occasion. But Muleskinner isn’t the only dining facility on post.

Across all four dining facilities, he said about 2,500 to 3,000 people were expected to be fed a Thanksgiving meal.

“The soldiers on Fort Drum that don’t get to go home and spend time with their families, this is us giving to them,” Sgt. Mahon said. “This is what we like to do to boost their morale.”

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Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

A Fort Drum soldier is handed a plate full of food Tuesday morning during the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Fresh cranberry sauce and other Thanksgiving meal sides sit in containers to be served Tuesday morning before the start of the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Pastries are prepared Tuesday morning before the start of the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Maj. Kevin Matheny of the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade, right, hands a plate full of food to a Fort Drum soldier Tuesday morning during the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Fort Drum soldiers sit together inside the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post as they enjoy the annual Thanksgiving meal service. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

A Fort Drum soldier is handed a plate full of food Tuesday morning during the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Command Sgt. Maj. Roy L. Young carves meat to serve to Fort Drum soldiers Tuesday morning during the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Fort Drum soldiers wait in line to enter the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post Tuesday morning for the annual Thanksgiving meal service. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Sgt. Bria Mason, left, and Maj. Kevin Matheny of the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade stand together ready to serve food to Fort Drum soldiers Tuesday morning before the start of the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Pastries sit on plates waiting to be served Tuesday morning before the start of the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

A Fort Drum soldier is handed a plate full of food Tuesday morning during the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

A Fort Drum soldier is served a plate full of food Tuesday morning during the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Fort Drum soldiers wait in line to enter the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post Tuesday morning for the annual Thanksgiving meal service. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

A prep cook handles a tray of carrots Tuesday morning before the start of the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Loaded mashed potatoes and other Thanksgiving meal sides sit in containers to be served Tuesday morning before the start of the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

Fort Drum soldiers sit together inside the Muleskinner Dining Facility on post as they enjoy the annual Thanksgiving meal service. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

A prep cook works in the kitchen Tuesday morning before the start of the annual Thanksgiving meal service at the Muleskinner Dining Facility at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Drum serves annual Thanksgiving meal

A 10th Mountain Division cake sits on display Tuesday morning inside the Muleskinner Dining Facility at Fort Drum. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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