Pershing Community Center catering receives national acclamation Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 September 2013
Megan O’Donoghue
Special to GUIDON

While Pershing Community Center catering is known locally for its culinary skills, exceptional customer service and festive atmosphere, now the Army-wide community has recognized its value as well. The Pershing Community Center catering program was recently recognized with the James A. Carroll Jr. Best in Class award for a catered event, for Fiscal 2012. The event was the 2012 Military Police Regimental Ball.
Pershing Community Center catering received national recognition recently for their efforts at the Military Police Ball. Courtesy photo.

While the Pershing Community Center caters several formal affairs throughout the year, the three largest being the military police, chemical, and engineer schools balls, it was the Military Police Ball that stood out to win Best in Class among all the Army’s installations because of the long standing traditions, ridged formalities, and the ceremonial aspect. Also the fact that it encompassed a large part of the Family and MWR team working together to succeed.

Preparations for the ball started four months before the scheduled event, with each detail being meticulously thought-out, from the internal plan and menu to the arrangements for delivery trucks, decorations, procuring linens, securing mementos, engraving wine glasses, table arrangements, and identifying and training the work force.

The executive chef concentrated his expertise on the kitchen aspects of the ball; including acquiring fresh products to prepare the meal, preparation timelines, holding times, presentation and other key ingredients to ensure the food delivered to each guest was served hot and beyond reproach.  

“Pershing Community Center team led by Scotty Reed; Chef Omar Redmond; and catering manager Lois Matos went above and beyond simply catering an event; and defined excellence in the most difficult of situations,” said Anthony Labarre, chief of Business Operations, “I am proud of the value and excellence in service which they deliver over and over again to our patrons in uniform.”

A distinctive characteristic of the Military Police Ball was to deliver the meal and provide services above all expectations; with unique, trendy, innovative and distinctive touches.  For the ball, the military police regimental colors of green and gold were carried through the entire event, from the table clothes to the menu. The menu started with the salads reflecting regimental colors with fresh green leafs and accented by a gold colored tomato through the green and gold of the Caramel Apple Granny Smith pie for dessert.

“While there are many catering companies to choose from, no one does it quite like Pershing Community Center. It is the little personal touches that make a big difference,” said  Scotty Reed, PCC manager “We did not pre-set any part of the meal, each meal, to include the salads, was served individually to each guest. In the end, what made this event a total success was our ability to serve (more than) 700 seated guests a gourmet meal in less than 32 minutes.”  

The Pershing Community Center has been supporting the Fort Leonard Wood community with catering for numerous years. Over the years, the PCC catering team has developed processes to accomplish each mission effectively and efficiently. From physically moving kitchen equipment to transforming an empty Field House into a kitchen and food prep in the rear of the house to an elegant social environment at the front of the house.

“This was definitely a team effort,” Labarre said, “a catered function of this magnitude involves several garrison directorates contributing alongside our MWR team; for example, Public Works retained staff on-site; Logistics supported transportation; Protocol Office coordinated the guest list and seating; our medical facility for ensuring we prepare and serve safely and DPTM provided light and sound personnel.”

The separate Family and MWR divisions also played an important part as each section provided support staffing to serve as kitchen help with plating food and busing tables, servers, table runners to support beverage service, decorators, IT assistance at Points of Sale and credit card machines, to set-up and tear-down and various other support roles necessary for the success of the ball.    

Many of the Attendees had positive comments on the catering for the event.

   “The 2012 Military Police Corps Anniversary Ball was a hugely successful event due in large part to the menu selection and service provided by the Fort Leonard Wood MWR Catering Office and staff. The Catering Office has improved by leaps and bounds an already outstanding service—from chef’s menu recommendations, to his very professional senior leader and spouse taste-testing, to the actual execution of this special occasion.  Having served in the Army Protocol arena for more than 20 years and having worked with numerous catering operations, I can acclaim food and service for this event were without compare, definitely 5-star category. The entire catering office staff—managers, chef, and servers—performed exceptionally, ensuring every guest felt specially attended to,” said( Nancy  Gregory, Secretary of the General Staff, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence.

“Our customers trust that when they choose PCC to cater their event that we will not only pay attention to the quality and quantity of the food but to the service we provide to our Soldiers, Families and the Fort Leonard Wood Community” Labarre said. “We understand the importance of the personal touch and customer service. We cater every event, whether for a small group or 700, as though it is an award winning event.”  

“For MWR, the take away is that events of this magnitude are supported across the installation and the monies generated are returned back to the service members by way of other MWR programs said Wayne Bardell, director of Family and MWR.  

“The Pershing Community Center employs military spouses in their kitchen, as servers and in other areas to assist during all our military balls. In addition, we have secured the support of military units and Family Readiness Groups and provided funds back to their individual accounts so we really do keep our MWR funds on the installation.”   

The Carroll Award was established in 1976 as a lasting tribute to James A. Carroll, Jr., a leader in the civilian and military hospitality field until his passing in 1975. In 1991, the Army established an Excellence in Management Awards program in order to recognize our outstanding managers of golf, bowling, leisure travel, and recycling operations. In 1999 they added a new category for the most improved facility and in 2000 added two additional categories for multi facility manager and business manager.

To book your next event with Family & MWR Catering call 329.2455.

For more information on Pershing Community Center and other MWR programs and facilities visit us online at

(Editor’s note: O’Donoghue is the FMWR marketing director.)

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 September 2013 )