ABILENE, Texas — The Abilene Military Affairs Committee hosted the 57th Annual 'World’s Largest Barbecue' at the Abilene Convention Center Saturday, and honored 2022’s 'Military Family of the Year,' which in addition to being a touching tribute, was certainly the best-smelling ceremony of the year.
Active-duty Dyess airmen and their families were served up over 2,000 lbs. of beef, 600 lbs. of sausage, 300 gallons of beans, 50 lbs. of onions, 50 gallons of barbecue sauce, 300 loaves of bread, 20 cases of cookies, one ton of ice and 500 gallons of tea.
“For 57 years now we have fed the bravest people we know on this planet and that’s the airmen and their families from Dyess Air Force Base,” said Abilene Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Doug Peters. “The Abilene chamber is one of the organizations that came together so many years ago and raised money for the land that that base sits on today and went to Washington and asked for a military installation and as a result, we have Dyess Air Force Base, and it’s important to us that we service what we sold so many years ago and it’s an absolute pleasure to have our airmen and their families here with us once a year to show our appreciation.”
'Military Family of the Year' went to the Gibsons, a dual-military family. SMSgt Katie Gibson and MSgt Kyle Gibson accepted the award with their three children, Kristian, Kora and Kamden.
According to an Abilene MAC press release, Katie Gibson currently serves as the 317th Airlift Wing Inspector General Complaint and Resolutions Superintendent, assisting airmen, civilians, dependents and retirees with solutions to problems and acting as the 317th Airlift Wing Commander’s “eyes and ears.” She oversees complaint resolution on behalf of 1,200 personnel, executing the largest C-130J Flying Hour Program in Air Mobility Command.
Kyle Gibson serves as Team Dyess’ Airmen Leadership School Commandant, overseeing the development and execution of the first formal level of profession military education for enlisted members. He leads a team of five instructors who are responsible for developing 315 airmen annually from Dyess AFB, Fort Hood and Naval Air Station Fort Worth into first-line leaders.
More than 200 volunteers helped with the celebration to express Abilene’s thanks to their hometown heroes.
“We’re telling them as they come through the door, ‘Do not leave hungry,’” Peters said. “I would say that we’ll feed nearly 4,000 people today here at the Abilene Convention Center and it’s an absolute privilege to serve each and every one of them.”