This is Antoinette Koleznikov's recipe for gratitude:
Omelet fixings, a hot griddle, and a heaping helping of appreciation.
"I know you've been working hard for us."
For the 23rd year the Air Force Reserve Chief served up a holiday breakfast at New Jersey's McGwire Air Force Base. There were fewer than two dozen takers when she started. This year there are over 300, at her final breakfast before she retires. Airmen from the past, and the future.
"We can't give them bonuses and awards and decorations as much as we'd like to but just saying thank you. Those two words can go a long way, but that's the gratification I get."
This daughter of Russian immigrants joined the service out of high school, to repay her family's adopted country. "Our family was so appreciative, I just felt that that was something I want to be a part of and give back."
And Koleznikov has for 37 years. Rising from the lone woman in her squad, to a leader of women and men.
But this year, these airmen who serve under the chief want to make sure she knows how much she means to them
Koleznikov pays for the breakfast out of her own pocket, but collects donations for airmen in need.
"We've helped someone who's house burned down and something else that makes sense here."
One year the money paid for the funeral of Unique Scale Brown's mother. "They didn't even give it a second thought of cutting me a check to help pay for funeral costs."
This year it will help Michelle Zuffanti who's adopted children with special needs. "It's very timely. It's very timely."
Tarun Patel, born in India and now an American citizen
Kolesnikov's lasting legacy is the opportunity she offered him and the hundreds of airmen she mentored in her communications squadron.
"She never made me feel like I owed her something or down the road if I became successful it was a return of investment. She always treated me like one of her own."
The perfect recipe for respect and success.