ABO head cook Vickie Heninger with her four grandchildren

ABO head cook Vickie Heninger with her four grandchildren

Vickie Heninger of Blunt has taken over ABO’s kitchen facilities as cook. “It’s going good,” said Heninger about her new role. “The first week was hectic, but we’re getting in the groove.”

From the time she was a fourth grader, Heninger was a Sully Buttes student, but with a baby on the way when it came time to graduate, she earned her GED.

“I lived in Wyoming, and then I came back.” In the Pierre/Fort Pierre area “I worked as a caregiver and cook in a daycare and as a CNA in a nursing home.”

Heninger worked ten years as a cook at Medicine Creek. “The school talked to me a year ago about working in the kitchen here, but I said ‘no,’” said Heninger. “This year I decided it’s something different and it offers benefits; it was time for a change.”

She spent time last spring with her predecessor Jeanne McComsey, who retired. “I was up here two months before she quit and went through paperwork, saw what she did and how she did it.”

For the most part, Heninger is keeping things the same. “Some of it has changed, but not a lot. For something different, I might talk to the kids, ask what they want.”

The addition of the salad bar to the regular lunch menu is a change over the work she was doing last spring. “I never did that before,” said Heninger. “We didn’t have it last year because of covid.” Another addition to the operation is the chef salads the kitchen staff is serving to grades 3-5 and to the teachers.

How long it takes everything to get ready has been the biggest challenge Heninger has met thus far. “With everything, what takes the longest, and in what time period to do it.”

Heninger has two sons, Dallas, who passed away eight years ago after a cancer battle and Derek who lives in Mandan, ND with his wife Loretta and their daughters. “Before he died, Dallas had a son Riot, and Riot’s mom has a little girl I claim as my granddaughter, so along with the two from North Dakota, I have four grandkids.”

Her new position will give Heninger more flexibility. “Hopefully I’ll get to see my grands more,” said Heninger. “I have weekends and holidays off here.”

In her free time, Heninger enjoys hanging out with friends and spending time outdoors. “I like outside crafts, and sitting on my deck and visiting. I like flowers.”