Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Students help with police memorial

More than 30 culinary arts students participated in the food preparation for the Lakewood Police Officers' Memorial Ceremony. The students spent much of their day on Monday preparing the food. And at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, students from both campuses met to load the food in one of Bates' commercial truck driving trucks. They then boarded a bus to the Tacoma Dome. Truck Driving Instructors Louie French and Wade Westphal, transported the food and the students, respectively.

When the students arrived at the Tacoma Dome, there were last minute changes to the set up and plans. "We helped bring in food from different vendors," says Chef Instructor Roger Knapp. "There was so much going on at the last minute, and our students did a great job at being flexible and extremely helpful. I'm proud of them and the professionalism they showed," he said.

That professionalism included springing into action when the students found that no tables and chairs were set up in the rooms for approximately 2,000 people, including police volunteers from around the country, and those in privates rooms for the Lakewood Police Department, Washington Concerns for Police Survivors and the fallen officers' families. 

Dean of Instruction Jean Watley spent the morning with the students. "They laid the food out like fine dining," she boasted. "They decorated the table--even the napkins and silverware--to look like a flower. I walked around and watched the volunteers, and they didn’t know the students had set up tables moments before they came in. The students made it look so inviting. Some people came not knowing what to expect, so it was a pleasant surprise to some that there was something for them to eat," she said.

Sharron Kantor, a volunteer with the Lakewood Police Department and a long-time student in Ryliss Bod's fashion construction extended learning classes, observed the students as they set up tables and the food. "The students didn't complain. I've been a manager and a supervisor, and these students could be on my team anytime. Whatever needed to be done, they did it. I was so proud of them," she says.

Culinary Arts student Chelsa Hicks says, "It was an honor to participate. I was glad when Chef Knapp said we would help with the memorial."

Louie remarked that the day was eye-opening. "After helping the students set up some of the tables and move items around, I watched the practice sessions in the Dome," he says. "It was amazing to see the bagpipers and the drums. It made me shiver, it was so awe-inspiring."

Oksana Karatayeva, Culinary Arts student, noted that the day was very emotional. "I couldn't imagine how hard this must be for the children [of the fallen officers]," she says. "I was happy to help them move forward from this tragedy."

Truck Driving instructor Dan French watched the procession that morning. "There were about 20 limousines carrying family members of the fallen officers, and there was an amazing feeling in the crowd," he says. "I didn't hear a word from the time the first hearse passed until I left 45 minutes later."

The Lakewood Rotary, organizers of the memorial service, asked Bates to participate and was able to secure a $2,500 donation from Costco to help with the food. Chef Roger Knapp secured food donations for Bates' suppliers, Sysco, U.S. Foodservice and Food Services of America.

Jean and Roger have been at work on the details for this student effort since early last week. Roger and substitute chef Steve Eason spent Sunday afternoon with former Lakewood Police Chief Larry Saunders, shopping for the food.

You can view photos of the memorial on the college's Flickr site. The photos are also streamed on the upper right corner of this blog. Thanks to Dan French and Jean Watley for taking the photos.

Tonight! KBTC presents Girls Night Out at Watson's Greenhouse

Enjoy a fun evening of shopping and hors d'oeuvres at Watson's Greenhouse Wednesday, Dec. 9 from 6-9 p.m. Take in the fabulous sights, sounds and the smells of the holiday season. Watson's Greenhouse is offering 30 percent off any single item in the store. All proceeds benefit KBTC's early learning community engagement activities. Tickets are $25 at or $30 at the door.

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