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179th Airlift Wing hosts 17th annual chili cook-off

The team from the 179th Air Wing Headquarters wins the 2016 'Chili Bowl' on Nov. 16, 2016, during the 179th Airlift Wing's annual chili cook-off in Mansfield, Ohio. The event helps promote the Combined Federal Campaign. The CFC is the program federal employees use to donate to an umbrella of approved charitable organizations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Megan Shepherd\Released)

The team from the 179th Air Wing Headquarters wins the 2016 'Chili Bowl' on Nov. 16, 2016, during the 179th Airlift Wing's annual chili cook-off in Mansfield, Ohio. The event helps promote the Combined Federal Campaign. The CFC is the program federal employees use to donate to an umbrella of approved charitable organizations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Megan Shepherd\Released)

Mansfield, Ohio -- The 179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield, Ohio, hosted their 17th annual chili cook-off Nov. 16 at the base’s dining facility.

This event is held each year in order to promote participation in the Combined Federal Campaign in addition to raising funds during the event. Federal employees have the option to donate out of each paycheck for the year and are encouraged to fill out their pledge forms at the event. 

According to the CFC website, they are the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, with almost 200 CFC campaigns throughout the country and overseas raising millions of dollars each year. Pledges made by federal civilian, postal and military donors during the campaign season that starts Sept. 1 lasting through Dec.15, support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world. 

Capt. Nate McNary, the base representative for the CFC committee said that the money raised at this installation is handled by Barb Crider, the CFC coordinator working at the United Way of Richland County. She also serves as the Principal Combined Fund Organization Director for the local CFC which covers Richland, Ashland, Knox, Crawford and Huron counties. 

"My role is to work with the local federal agencies to help them administer the yearly campaign," said Crider. "We administer the application process and ensure that donor designations are honored."

The local campaign committee voted that the funds for the chili cook-off specifically are designated to the United Way of Richland County and then distributed to local areas in need, including family services, health services, emergency services and youth development, said Crider.

"I feel the impact from the base is immeasurable," said Crider. "You have the generosity of the base members who give to so many worthwhile causes. You have the volunteer hours that the members provide in the community. In my mind seeing people out and about in uniform brings a sense of pride to all of us." 

The theme for this year’s chili cook-off was ‘bands’. Each of the five teams picked a different band or theme and dressed up and decorated their booth to go along with it. Then, they made and served their best bowl of chili to the judges and all the attendants.

The awards categories were overall winner, runner up, best theme, and people's choice award. The coveted 'Chili Bowl' went to the team with the best chili recipe overall which was determined by the judges.

The three judges on the panel were Col. Jim Camp, the 179th AW Commander, Dan Varn, the Executive Director of United Way for Richland County, and Johnny C. Willis, a retired master sergeant from the 179th AW. Representatives from the IRS and United Way of Richland County participated in this year’s event. 

The 2016 winner of the 'Chili Bowl' was the Air Wing Headquarters team. They also won the people’s choice award for the best chili. Their team constructed a 50’s diner out of mostly cardboard and colored paper. They dressed up like characters from the musical "Grease".

The runner up for best recipe was the Security Forces team as "Quiet Riot". They also received the award for the best theme. Their team dressed up as the heavy metal band members complete with long wigs, bandanas, leather jackets, sunglasses and more.

“It was an honor to receive the ‘Chili Bowl’,” said Capt. Matthew Stake, one of the cooks from the winning team, “but ultimately it was a great opportunity to get people from all across the base together for one good cause.”
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