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Serving Up Some Good Times as a Way of Saying Thanks

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William “Goro” Pitchford (standing) talks to Sgt Affiong Udoiwod, Sgt. Gus Lucatero and the others in a group from BAMC who visited Godai Sushi Bar.

Specialist Jeremy Page was stationed in Germany when he had a seizure that he couldn’t control. It landed him in SA’s Brooke Army Medical Center a few months ago. He expects his treatments to last another year, which can put a strain on his family life and his plans for becoming a chef.

So, it was a treat for him to get to go out with about 20 others from BAMC to Godai Sushi Bar, 11203 West Ave., on Monday for a family-style dinner that the owner, William “Goro” Pitchford, had prepared in their honor.

The wounded military men and women as well as few family members were treated to miso soup and salad,  a series of sushi rolls, fried rice, spicy chicken bulgogi, chilled sake and more before Goro presented them with a tray of eight whole snappers that had been fried and artfully arranged on a large platter.

This was the first time that Godai hosted the group, but it won’t be the last. The restaurant will be hosting a new group from BAMC every quarter.

Why host the dinner? “I want to give back, to give them something for all they’ve given us,” Goro said. “I just feel it’s my responsibility as an American.”

Sgt. Ralph Flores (right) and Specialist Jeremy Page (right) enjoy dinner at Godai.

The meal was organized by James Salaiz, a real estate consultant who volunteers his time to make sure people recuperating at BAMC get out of the hospital for a meal on a regular basis. In addition to Godai, a few of the restaurants who have donated meals include the Lion and Rose, Urban Taco, Los Barrios, Ruby Tuesday and Paesanos. Most of them offer a meal on a quarterly basis, while Magnolia Pancake Haus offers breakfast every month.

Many of the regular diners at Godai stopped by the table to express their thanks for all that the men and women had done for our country.

The trip to Godai, an evening away from the hospital and a chance to enjoy some talk and good times, was a nice change of pace for Dennis and Pam Krumwiede, who are visiting from Pocatello, Idaho, because they wanted to be here for their son, Matthew, who had stepped on a landmine.

“We’re here to help him heal,” Dennis Krumwiede said, adding that it could be a year or two.

Specialist Jeremy Page enjoys seconds of the fried snapper.

While some in the group were familiar with Japanese cuisine, a few had never tasted it before.

“I’ve never had it before,” said Sgt. Ralph Flores, who’s originally from Robstown. “It’s all new to me.”

Goro’s special deep-fried Oreos, which he served up on a large platter were new to everyone, and the dessert soon disappeared.

Restaurateurs, if any of you would like to host a group of wounded warriors, contact James Salaiz at (210) 831-3635.


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2 Responses to “Serving Up Some Good Times as a Way of Saying Thanks”

  1. Cecil Flentge says:

    Outstanding effort by our troops is met with outstanding food and a hearty ‘way to go’. Can’t say enough good about the troops and a big salute to Goro at Godai.
    Thanks also to each restaurant that has done similar things – I will spread the word about it and frequent their business!

    • John Griffin says:

      The few hours away from BAMC does these people a lot of good, as you could see from the relaxation on their faces and the laughter as they enjoyed their food and each other. There are other non-restaurant programs, too, that take them to college games or other outings. A big thanks goes to all of them for showing this support.