Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas --
The enlisted dormitory kitchen ribbon cutting ceremony, Jan. 28, marked a huge jump in the quality of life for 104 enlisted Airmen living in the dorms here.
The old kitchen offered one stove top with two Airmen having a tight squeeze while cooking at the same time. The new kitchen, in a renovated day room, offers three stove tops in a spacious area.
“This is a joyous day for the Airmen living in the dorms,” said Airman 1st Class Ciera Treanor, 47th Medical Operations Squadron flight medicine technician and dorm resident. “For the Airmen, this means healthier food, saving money and easier access.”
Laughlin Airmen are given double Basic Allowance for Subsistence each month to help cover costs of meals since there isn’t a dining facility.
While the stipend was an effort to cover the costs of the meals, Treanor said it was still costly and sometimes unhealthy for Airmen. “If you go downtown much, it’s going to cost you $10 to $20 to eat out,” she said. “This is going to save us a lot of money and we are going to eat a lot healthier.”
According to the 47th Flying Training Wing command chief, this was seen as an issue early on in her tenure.
“We recognized that our kitchen was unsatisfactory and the moment we shared our concerns with Air Education and Training Command’s leadership, they did everything possible to help us get this fixed,” said Chief Master Sgt. Teresa Clapper, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief.
When leadership recognized the challenges for Laughlin’s Airmen, the project was fast-tracked. After being funded in July, work started in September and Airmen were able to cook in the kitchen five months later.
“This was a very quick timeline for an Air Force project but it was very important to our leadership that our Airmen be taken care of,” said Lt. Col. Tammie Harris, 47th Civil Engineer Squadron commander.
The local Military Affairs Association and Lion’s Club catered a meal for the dorm residents afterwards to celebrate the ribbon cutting. “Laughlin’s Airmen are our Airmen, and we want to do everything we, as a community to give them great quality of life here,” said Jeannie Roe, MAA Board Member who spearheaded the event. “
Roe, MAA and Lion’s Club members stocked the kitchen with pots, pans and utensils.