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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

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Heroes Dinner Served for Camp Pendleton Marines

By Pfc. Emmanuel Necoechea | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | January 22, 2016

Camp Pendleton, Calif. -- Camp Pendleton hosted the Food Industry Serving Heroes Foundation (FISH) heroes’ dinner at the Pacific Views Event Center here, Jan. 21.

The heroes' dinner was hosted to recognize the sacrifices that service members have made for American freedom.

Brig. Gen. Edward D. Banta, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installation - West, gave opening remarks and introduced the 27 recipients.

“This is an opportunity to thank all of you who were nominated to attend tonight for what you do on behalf of our nation’s support or the Marine Corps here on Camp Pendleton, whether you are active duty Marine Corps, active duty Navy or a civilian, what you do here makes a difference and this is an opportunity for us to recognize you,” said Banta.

The honorees were chosen to participate in the heroes’ dinner in recognition of their superior performance in the execution of their duties.

“It’s inspiring,” said Cpl. Mitchell Greken, one of the Marines recognized for superior performance in duty. “Everyone here has done something important like saved lives or Marines that trained other Marines how to do their job. It’s a very important aspect and I’m glad people do recognize it and want to say ‘thank you.’”

FISH designs programs to improve the quality of life for the troops, veterans and their families by recognizing and incorporating food retailers who provide support for the military. Their goals are also based on their four pillars of support: health, guidance, recognition and support. 

“The Marines always come first and that is how it should be,” said Paul Chapa, the chairman and president of FISH. “What we hope to accomplish is to let our Marines and Sailors know that we are appreciative of their service to our country and this is our way of saying thank you.”

Celebrity TV Chef Rick Tarantino designed the heroes’ dinner and prepared it for this event. Food service Marines assisted with the preparation, cooking and plating of the meals in this event.

“The chef needs someone to help him and the thing about the culinary arts is they love working and studying and learning under these skilled well know chefs,” said Chapa.

This is the 18 heroes’ dinner Chapa and Chef Rick Tarantino has hosted since 2011.