Editor's Note: Veterans spice up deployed unit's meals

To servicemen and women serving overseas, little comforts that remind them of home are always welcome.

John Chatellier knows this. The DeKalb chiropractor is a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and his son, also  named John, is a first sergeant who has served in the Air Force for 15 years. The younger Chatellier is currently deployed to Kuwait.

In a Father’s Day iPhone chat, Chatellier asked his son if there was anything he would like from home. The first sergeant, who is responsible, among other things, for the morale of the unit, said the men were served chicken wings in the mess, but they were longing for some Buffalo Wild Wings sauce.

“I said, ‘I could probably send you a couple of bottles,’” Chatellier said.

He related the story to a fellow veteran, Michael Embrey. Embrey said he knew the manager of the local Buffalo Wild Wings and would put in a call. The next time Chatellier saw Embrey, the latter had two huge bags filled with bottles of sauce in an assortment of flavors.

“I said, ‘Oh no, I didn’t mean to buy that many!’ And he said, ‘No, it’s free,’” Chatellier recalled.

Embrey said when he called Buffalo Wild Wings manager Joe Ross to ask about buying some sauce, he didn’t realize that Ross is also veteran, of the U.S. Navy.

“He said he had been stationed in Kuwait, and he knew what it was like to crave something from home, and what it was like to get a care package from home,” Embrey said.

Altogether, Embrey said they sent 25 different sauces to the unit for chicken wing nights.

“It’s not that military food is bad, but it’s bland,” Embrey said. “If you like a lot of flavors and spices, you’re not going to find it.”

My efforts to reach Joe Ross for this column were unsuccessful – over the course of three days, I think I called or stopped by the restaurant for just about every shift he was not working – but I wanted to join Chatellier and Embrey in thanking him and the staff at the restaurant for their donation. As we celebrate Independence Day this week, we can all remember our fighting men and women, and be thankful for the little things that we take for granted.

Even spicy chicken wings.

Enjoy your MidWeek.