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Mark Freeman’s Magic Carpet Ride
 
This February 2nd, 2016, Microsoft Senior Manager of Global Dining and SHFM Past President, Mark Freeman, will take part in the Hennessy Travelers Program. Each year, a member of SHFM is selected to evaluate the foodservice and hospitality at U.S. bases around the world. This unique opportunity will allow Freeman to educate the men and women serving in the U.S. Air Force’s hospitality services. 
 
Freeman is more than excited to be a part of this ‘life-changing event’ that has become the oldest military foodservice award, established in 1957. The schedule for Freeman will be very demanding as he evaluates up to four meals a day over the course of his trip. His outlook of appreciation on the program isn’t lost however, as he knows to embrace every moment of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
 
Mark Freeman’s Magic Carpet Ride takes off February 2nd through March 1st. He’ll make his way from San Antonio to Turkey, making stops at several military bases along the way. As an avid traveler, Freeman can’t wait to embark on his newest culinary adventure.

We recently sat down with Mark to get his thoughts on being a part of such a prestigious program.

As the 2016 Traveler, what are you looking forward to the most? 
I think just being at the bases and seeing what they do and how they do it. I have heard from past Travelers that it is a life changing event and so I’m not really sure what to expect.
 
We know that you have probably received advice from past Travelers, what has been the most interesting piece of advice?
The schedule is very demanding so get lots of sleep when you can. I understand I will be evaluating four meals a day for, in some cases, three days. The other advice was to enjoy every bit of it and take advantage of all the opportunities that come forward because you might not be back here ever again.
 
The commitment to be a Traveler is substantial, how long is the training process before the trip even begins?
We have three days training in San Antonio before we leave for the actual bases.
 
And once the training is complete, how long will you be away from the office? 
I will be away from Feb 2nd to March 1st basically the whole month of February. Microsoft is such a great company that they see a lot of value in me being able to take this trip and so are supportive of me going.
 
Do you have any idea where you might be going?
Yes, I start in San Antonio with training and then go to Arkansas, Georgia, a couple of bases in Florida, and then my overseas trip will be to Turkey. I have never been to Turkey so it should be interesting.
 
We will look forward to hearing about your trip at the SHFM NRA Networking breakfast in Chicago on May 23.
Yes, I’m looking forward to telling everyone about my trip and some of the things I have learned along the way.
 

How You Can Support This Important Program 

We encourage all of our SHFM members and business partners to join forces in supporting the Hennessy Traveler Program and the Travelers we send. Corporate support of the program offered at $1,000 (or more) annually, and personal donations in a suggested amount of $500 (may be higher or lower) are also encouraged. Support of the program is completely tax-deductible and all supporters will receive benefits for their participation.
 
[Click here to download the donation form]