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Hundreds gather for barbecue in NSGL’s backyard

Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:07 a.m. CDT
John Conley, CS1 Jun Mendoza, Sarah Simington, Dimitri Kallanis and Gorilla pose for a photo during a break from the Backyard BBQ.

Hundreds of sailors enjoyed the Great American Backyard Barbeque at Galley 535, July 9.

Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department Naval Station Great Lakes provided music, games and an inflatable bounce house, while celebrity chefs prepared the meal.

“For students here, this gives them a chance to blow off some steam,” said Darcy Cook, liberty coordinator for MWR. “It’s important for us to provide healthy activities and positive recreation because it helps maintain readiness. I know that as a student, when you have the opportunity to have a little fun, it can make learning a lot easier.”

The chefs included restaurant owners featured on the Food Network program “Diner’s. Drive-Ins and Dives” hosted by Guy Fieri. Sarah Simington, from the Blue Moon Café in Baltimore, prepared Blue Moon Sausage, Dimitri Kallianis, from The Shanty in Wadsworth, Ill. made Cajun seafood sauté, Gorilla from Gorilla Barbeque in Pacifica, Calif. prepared barbeque ribs and John Conley from Salsa Brava in Flagstaff, Ariz., cooked pork sliders.

“We were brought together by Guy Fieri to go all around the world on this Fork Full of Freedom Tour,” said Gorilla. “We really want to make these sailors a great meal, make them feel appreciated, and remind them that they have tons of support from all over.”

For the sailors at Great Lakes, this event provided the opportunity to enjoy foods they’ve missed for months.

“Barbecue is my all-time favorite,” said MMFN Amber Hunter. “I haven’t had barbecue since I left home for bootcamp and they did an awesome job. Everyone keeps talking about how amazing the food was.”

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