Nothing like a good holiday meal

Pete FowlerPost Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A chicken cordon bleu meal on Christmas Day warmed the souls of Garfield County Jail inmates who sent a letter of praise to the jail’s kitchen supervisor and staff.”Mmmmm … On behalf of medium unit, we would take this time to wish you a merry Christmas!” says a letter signed by 23 inmates in a medium-security area of the jail. “We would like you to know how much we enjoyed the meals we were presented with on Christmas Day! Smiles all around and our full bellies indicated the dedication you have regarding your work.”It wasn’t just the chicken cordon bleu that prompted the inmates’ letter. Also on the jail’s menu for Christmas was a special breakfast with biscuits, sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, hashbrowns and strawberry cream Danishes. For lunch the jail served the chicken, Waldorf salad, twice-baked potatoes, corn, pineapple sweet potatoes, stuffing and rolls.Dinner was an hors d’oeuvre tray with onion dip, French dip, vegetables, potato chips, sweet pickles, green and black olives, deviled eggs, crackers, hard salami, homemade candies, pecan pie and peanut butter fudge, chocolate fudge and cranberry fudge.Kitchen supervisor Sandy Gomez, who’s worked the jail’s kitchen for 19 years, said the kitchen began working on the meals Monday and finished Tuesday around noon. That included preparing the three meals for nearly 140 inmates.”I like to do something special for them because they are human beings and we all make mistakes,” Gomez said. “And if my kid would be in here, I’d want somebody to do something special for them.”Gomez appreciated the letter since working in a jail is often a thankless job. Almost no inmates want to be behind bars – especially during the holidays.”I thought it was very nice of them. … You don’t get a lot of thanks for what you do,” Gomez said. “It’s a lot of hard work, and when you get something like this it makes you appreciate the fact that there are people who do care.”Kitchen service normally includes things like ham and turkey dinners. Wednesday night’s dinner included a beef stew.”We have ham dinner. We have turkey dinner on the menu,” Gomez said. “So I thought of maybe something a little different that they didn’t normally get – and who serves chicken cordon bleu in jail?”Making the extra effort for holiday meals can have a definite impact, Gomez said.”When you’re confined to a cell for 22, 23 hours a day, if you’ve got something a little special there you’re going to go, ‘Wow, this is enough to make my day pass a little better,'” Gomez said. “Really, if you think about it, it’s probably the only gift they got for Christmas this year.”Community relations deputy Tanny McGinnis she’s heard at least three times this year that inmates who have spent time in multiple jails have said Garfield County Jail’s food is better than what’s served at other jails.”They get fed well at this jail,” Gomez said. “Probably the best in the state of Colorado.”The letter seems to indicate there’s good reason for the pride Gomez takes in her work. It adds, “I believe I can speak for the entire unit … We look forward to every meal with anticipation and much appreciation for your skills and the work of your staff.”Contact Pete Fowler:

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