The directorates that make up Fort Hood’s Garrison came together Thursday for some friendly competition at the annual Garrison Barbecue.

Held near the Sportsmen’s Center, about 850 lunch tickets were sold.

“It’s in part to celebrate the accomplishments of garrison since last year,” said Ben Lyons, an operations specialist who helped plan the event. “It’s also just a moment to take a knee and for everyone to enjoy themselves among their coworkers.”

Not only do coworkers come together, but garrison employees get to meet the other directorates and put a face with the name they email, Lyons said.

“It’s not often we get outside our own world,” he said.

The event started in 2000 and each year includes many of the same events to a different theme. This year’s theme was Fort Hood’s 70th anniversary and some of the competitive events included volleyball, horseshoes and of course, cooking.

“It’s a thank you to ourselves for the hard work we do throughout the year,” said Col. Matthew Elledge, Fort Hood’s garrison commander, adding all services continued to operate despite the event. “We’ve got a large organization, but everybody comes together.”

In the cooking competition, the Directorate of Public Works has created quite a following, with their lunch line stretching much farther than the other three competitions.

Mike Kancilja, an employee of DPW’s Environmental Branch was one of the many who waited in line.

“It’s loyalty to the unit,” he said. “DPW is a giant family and ... we are there to support each other.”

Back behind the food booth, decorated with a Camp Hood sign and a timeline of Fort Hood’s history, a team of cooks was relaxing after arriving after work the day before to begin cooking.

“We stayed up all night,” said Rickey Kelly, who retired from DPW’s Engineer Services Branch in December, but came back to help out.

“We have a blast,” said Kyle Arnold, an employee of the roads and grounds department. “We get together and have a good time.”

Winning, the team agreed, doesn’t hurt either. Last year, the team’s barbecue took home the overall trophy.

“It’s nice if we win, or if we don’t,” Kelly said.

Also looking to pull out a victory, was the Directorate of Human Resources with barbecue that melded the flavors of Florida and Louisiana in a “duo of the South,” said Jennifer Kelly, of the Army Substance Abuse Program.

“We took it to a whole nother level for our troops,” she said. “We had a good time. We teased and cheered on everyone. It was one team of excellence.”

Mickey Adams, of the same program, said it was all about fun.

“Everybody wants to win, but we can’t let winning overshadow the fun that we’ve had so far,” he said.

In the end, both directorates took home prizes. DPW won top honors for its beans and brisket, while human resources won for the best chicken and ribs.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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