Northrop Grumman flexed its muscles. Employees heard about the seafood request, and suddenly they started planning a Christmas party. But not just any party. An overseas spectacular for more than three thousand soldiers stationed in Kuwait.
A party with a definite South Mississippi flavor.
Georgo Trojanovich provided much of that flavor. He added a pinch of patriotic pride to his latest batch of Mary Mahoney's gumbo. "The men and women are doing such a great job in Iraq," the gumbo chef said, "that actually they deserve more than this."
Trojanovich just whipped up 240 gallons of his famous South Mississippi gumbo. They sat in boxes just beyond a freezer door at the Ole Biloxi Oyster and Shrimp Company. Next week, they would be shipped to Camp Arijfan.
Teddy Busick owns the seafood plant. He donated the freezer space and some fresh shrimp. So did several of his processing plant neighbors. "I think this is a worthy cause," Busick said.
So here's the Christmas Day menu for the troops in Kuwait. Mary Mahoney's gumbo. One thousand pounds of fresh gulf shrimp. And 990 pounds of Mississippi catfish.
Monica Ballew's two Jackson County restaurants donated several boxes of the catfish. "I think that anytime you do anything to help the guys over there, it's great," she said.
A South Mississippi Christmas dinner wouldn't be complete without dessert. So, Dave Anderson's Pascagoula bakery is about to whip up 3,200 chocolate chip cookies. "I figured it was the least we could do," he said, standing next to a bakery oven.
Anderson is even throwing in a bonus. In a closet, he has a box of holiday wishes to the troops from Resurrection Elementary School. They'll be packed right next to the cookies. "Hopefully they'll get a kick out of them," the bakery chef said, "knowing everybody is thinking about them."
Northrop Grumman organized this Christmas dinner shipment. Its employees also donated $92,000 to the project. Much of that money will be used to buy calling cards, so the troops can phone home.
Next Tuesday, a Wal Mart truck will haul the food from here to a plane in Washington, so the South Mississippi goodies can reach Kuwait by Christmas.