Cooks dish up ‘sizzle’ at BEACHFEST

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs

Photos by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz

Service members at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) were treated to Beachfest, held May 29 at Hickam Beach.

The waterfront event featured many activities, ranging from dunk tanks to hula lessons. Some patrons even won a free luxury car rental. The event was held through a partnership with JBPHH Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the Armed Services YMCA of Hawaii, Cooks from the Valley and other organizations.

Adm. Harry B. Harris, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, attended the event and spoke with the Cooks from the Valley.

In addition to cardboard boat races and craft stations, the event included music from the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band and Air Force Band of the Pacific-Hawaii.

The event also tickled the taste buds with free steaks. Beachfest was host to Cooks from the Valley, a group of volunteers who provided and cooked more than 13,000 steaks during their trip to JBPHH and their trip to Sasebo, Japan, which took place May 26.

“We are doing this because it is our way in which we can give back,” said Tom Anton, founder of the Cooks from the Valley. “We are doing this because you guys are here. Yes, you all may be here in Hawaii, but you, the all-volunteer force, still put your lives on the line to keep our country as great as it is.”

Anton, who also works as a lawyer when he is not cooking, has grilled and served steaks to service members for more than 20 years, beginning with the USS Chandler (DDG 996) in 1983.

1st Lt. Nicole Augins, 647 Air Base Group Logistics readiness officer, was one of the main points of contact for the Cooks portion of the event, and said she thought it was one of the best parts of Beachfest.

“It was a honor to host the Cooks from the Valley here at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam,” Augins said. “I found the amount of military installations they have touched especially amazing.”

Augins said she hopes to see the Cooks From the Valley again before she leaves the base.

“It was remarkable to hear how they morphed from a one-man organization to a diverse group,” she said. “They have provided a free, delicious steak to military members all over the world. I would be glad to work with them again.”

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Category: Life & Leisure