FORT HOOD, Texas — Nothing says Thanksgiving like a well-cooked feast but for some soldiers on Fort Hood, sharing that meal with loved ones isn’t an option.
Some stay on post because it is their chosen job to feed their fellow soldiers and that includes the holidays.
Say hello to Private First Class Marcus Wilburn, Culinary Specialist with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood.
Though he spends his days cooking and serving food at the Theodore Rosevelt Warrior Restaurant on post, his story begins on the south side of Chicago, Illinois.
”It was cold, dangerous and pretty grimy, that’s pretty much it,” said PFC Wilburn. “It’s not that bad in Chicago, just stay in the house really. Stay doing something positive like marching band, community, church, choir, stuff like that.”
That’s exactly what he did, nurturing his love for music in a marching band before joining the Army and embracing his other love in life, cooking.
”I have 2 passions in life, cooking and music,” said PFC Wilburn. “I didn’t know that they had a band MOS before I joined that Army so, I just chose Culinary Specialist.”
That positive attitude he grew up with is what his leaders say he brings to the team every day.
”Always full of energy and a happy go lucky guy,” said SFC Wayne Thomas, Sergeant First Class with 3rd Cavalry Regiment. "He’s always motivated, always motivating his peers, motivating his NCO’s, as well as everybody that comes in contact with him.”
Like many cooks in the Army, he will be sacrificing his thanksgiving to feed his fellow soldiers that can’t make it home for the holiday and it’s something he is proud to do.
”It’s all about attitude,” said PFC Wilburn. “When you see them walk in give them a smile, give them a plate, give them a lot of food. More than that usual, give them a lot of food and make them feel special for the day because they know their family’s not there and they’re going to go back to their room and probably be sad. So, I try to at least brighten their day while they’re here.”
His leaders what him to know, that dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed.
”I want him to know that I really appreciate him,” said SFC Thomas. “I give him a hard time when he comes to work because I see unlimited potential in him. So, I give him a hard time. Trying to push him to be great but at the end of the day, I really appreciate him.”
PFC Marcus Wilburn is a young soldier from the south side of Chicago, proudly giving up his Thanksgiving to make sure his fellow soldiers get the best meal he can cook as they too spend the holiday far from home.