USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Members of the non-profit organization "Cooks from the Valley" volunteered their time and resources to treat the Sailors and Marines aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) to steaks hot off the grill while the ship was underway in the Arabian Gulf, July 5.
The volunteers purchased, transported, cooked and served more than 5,000 New York strip steaks in an effort to boost crew morale and show appreciation for the dedicated service of the Sailors and Marines of the "Big E".
"We buy the steaks, ship the steaks out, marinate them, grill them and hear over and over again from the Sailors and Marines how much they appreciate a piece of home, just from these steaks," said Thomas Anton, founder of "Cooks from the Valley."
The organization is comprised of more than 100 volunteers, all sharing a common desire to give back to men and women serving in the U.S. military.
"It's a very fulfilling and rewarding experience to give back," said George Rach, a volunteer with "Cooks from the Valley." "These guys are out here serving our country and we want to say thank you."
The event came a day after the Independence Day holiday and highlighted the ship's deployment.
"I know it's not the Fourth of July, but it sure does feel like it," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Amanda Maisonave. "The steaks were great and really tender. I am really happy that they volunteered their time to serve us."
"We have volunteers from judges to construction workers," said Victoria Harrison, project coordinator and volunteer with "Cooks from the Valley." "A lot of help was needed in a short period of time to make this happen and it is really appreciated."
The organization can be traced back to the events of 9/11 and the desire of private citizens to give back to those defending their nation. "Cooks from the Valley" relies on contributions from each and every volunteer. In order to accomplish this event, volunteers each donated approximately $2,900 to purchase and ship the steaks.
The organization tries to host these events twice a year to commemorate Independence Day and Veterans Day.
Eight volunteers from the organization along with members from the First Class Petty Officers Association and the ship's culinary specialists aboard Enterprise worked in unison to make the event a success.
"We love them [service members] dearly for the commitment that they show," said Rach. "This is our way of showing our appreciation."
Enterprise is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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