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Burritos fuel Airmen, Boise CAP programs

Volunteers from the Boise Civil Air Patrol sell breakfast burritos each Saturday and Sunday morning of primary drill on the south side of Building 400 and in front of the base theater, as well by golf cart.

Volunteers from the Boise Civil Air Patrol and its booster club sell breakfast burritos each Saturday and Sunday morning of primary drill on the south side of Building 400 and in front of the base theater, as well by golf cart.

GOWEN FIELD, Boise, Idaho -- It's Saturday morning and you managed to make it to drill on time -- just barely. Great job. There is only one problem: in your haste to rush out the door, you didn't have time to eat breakfast and lunch is still a few hours away. What do you do?

Sure, the vending machines are an option, albeit not a very good one if you want to stay on top of your PT regimen. Someone may have decided to bring in doughnuts for the whole shop, but that, too, would be liking playing a game of nutritional Russian Roulette. Can you say sugar crash?

Thanks to the men and women of the Civil Air Patrol's Boise Squadron and their booster club, you won't have to.

That's because CAP cadets with help from volunteer parents and senior squadron members are waking up before dawn on drill weekends to make tasty and nutritious breakfast burritos.

Retired Maryland Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Mark Maselli and CAP Booster Club president Kerrylyn Miller head up the weekend operation. Maselli, who recently moved to Idaho and joined the Boise CAP last November, leads production while Miller, mom of 13-year-old Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Ty Miller, is in charge of sales. August drill was just the crew's fourth drill, but they agree the operation is already running smoothly.

It is the perfect blend of filling a need on base and creating a sustainable fundraiser to fund CAP programs, Miller said.

"It is usually a dozen volunteers working very hard each day we are on base in order to pull this off, but we try to have fun doing it," Miller said.

Maselli and his crew arrive on base before 5 a.m. each morning. Wearing hats and gloves to ensure proper food preparation safety, he sets up "the line" with egg scramblers, rollers and wrappers. In a little over an hour, the well-oiled machine is able to cook, assemble, roll and wrap anywhere from 200-300 plus burritos, depending on how many Miller and crew think they can sell.

Miller, who has several contacts on both the Air and Army side, gets word when big groups are drilling on base, or when others have gone out to the field.

"We are able to get a pretty good read on the number of burritos we think we'll need," Miller said.

They sold 301 of 320 burritos on Saturday of August drill, according to Maselli, who said sales are increasing with each passing month.

The money they raise goes to fund important CAP initiatives that cannot be funded through the usual CAP funding streams, said Maselli. He worked as the Air Guard liaison to the Maryland CAP for 10 years and watched how they used fundraisers to pay for things like cadet encampments (their equivalent of basic training), travel costs to regional trainings and competitions, and more. Both Maselli and Miller hope burrito sales will fund similar efforts here in Idaho.

According to State Command Chief Master Sgt. Pete Glick, fundraising for the CAP is authorized on base because the CAP is the official Air Force auxiliary and a 501(c)(3) charity.

Sales booths are set up on the south side of Building 400 and in front of the base theater, although programmed sprinklers thwarted sales efforts there on Sunday of August drill. Miller and her team enthusiastically operate a mobile sales booth (it's actually a golf cart) that makes deliveries all over Gowen Field, including the Army Guard side, as well.

Sausage or bacon burritos are $2.50 each or grab their popular combo, which gives you a second burrito and a fruit bag for $6. A boon to the cash-deprived: they now take debit cards. Advance orders are available by calling 761-2581.