Players serve meals to military personnel
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Military men and women at the US Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton had an unusual crew of waiters serving them lunch on Monday. And boy were these waiters tall!
Members of the Brooklyn Nets, the borough’s own NBA team, paid a lengthy visit on Veterans Day to Fort Hamilton in Bay Ridge, the borough’s only active military post, where the team held a practice and then, wearing chef’s hats and aprons, stood behind the serving station in the fort’s community club and served a hot lunch of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, carrots and string beans to the military men and women.
The community club, a fortress-like building on the base, was turned into a cafeteria for the afternoon, as seven-foot-tall NBA players, ladles in hand, happily dished out food from the serving trays.
The visit was the Nets’ way of marking Veterans Day and to thank men and women who serve in the military, according to Brett Yormark, the team’s president and CEO. “We are here to honor all of you in their room and honor what you do for us every day,” he said.
It was also part of the Brooklyn Nets Assist program in which the basketball team lends its support to Brooklyn’s schools and institutions to promote education, athletics and health and wellness. The event was sponsored by Key Food.
Superstar Kevin Garnett and his teammates spent nearly five hours at the historic military base, arriving by bus from the Barclays Center just before noon for a team practice that took place in the fort’s gym and staying until well after 4 p.m. after everyone had been served lunch.
After finishing their duties at the serving station, the Nets walked around the room meeting and greeting their fans. “You guys are really the best team at what you do,” rookie Mason Plumlee told the military members.
Center Brook Lopez found a friendly table near the back and sat down for a chat with a group of military men he had just served lunch.
Earlier, the Nets had opened up their team practice so that military members could watch head coach Jason Kidd put his players through their drills.
Col. Eluyn Gines, the garrison’s commanding officer, said that the event was open to all branches of the military service, not just the army. “Today is a special day. It is a great opportunity for us to host the Brooklyn Nets today,” he said.
As part of the event, military personnel on the base were given gift bags containing a T-shirt, a Nets hat and a $50 gift card to Key Food. The Brooklyn Nets also handed out Challenge Coins to military personnel as a show of support.
“It’s nice of them to do this for us,” Airman First Class Thomas Pascale told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Pascale is stationed with the 105th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard in Newburgh, New York, and came down to Fort Hamilton for the day.
Airman First Class Josue Prosper, also of the 105th, said he enjoyed watching the team practice. “It was great. I had so much fun watching them,” he said.
Fort Hamilton, built in 1825, serves as a processing station for those entering the military. It is also the headquarters of the North Atlantic Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers.