Thursday, June 17, 2010

Supporting The Military With BBQ

On this past Tuesday and Wednesday, we had the opportunity to witness a small miracle in the form of a troop cook put on by American Spirit BBQ (aka Pete Benac, aka Celtic Wolf). We are sure that most of you are aware of these troop cooks which have been held under a variety of names such as American Spirit BBQ, Operation BBQ and BBQ For Our Troops. Essentially, folks that can cook BBQ either contact or are contacted by various military units and they cook BBQ for the troops as a way of saying Thank You to the folks that sacrifice so much to keep us all safe. Often times, these events are being held as a part of a unit either returning from deployment or units about to deploy. We have been documenting the events that we have been able to attend on our Operation BBQ web page: Operation BBQ Event Photos.

These events are paid for by donations, and the military only has to provide drinks for these events. The cookers, the cooks, the food, the plates, you name it, are provided by the group doing the cook. And needless to say, in these "tough" times, groups that do these troop cooks are struggling for funds and volunteers. The folks running these troop cooks often times end up making up what they don't have to pay for the supplies out their own pockets. We don't mean to sound maudlin, but if every fan of these groups on Facebook were to donate $5.00 or $10, quite a number of these events could be paid for totally out of donations. (You can visit the BBQ For Our Troops and American Spirit BBQ Facebook pages if you are interested in donating your time or money to this effort.) Pete calculated that he spent $1.05 per attendee to put on this event. As you can see, it doesn't take much of a donation to support a large number of troops!

But back to the minor miracle we witnessed. As we said times are "tough" and donations of both time and money have lagged. We went down to Ft. Bragg to document Family Day for the 3d Battalion 27th Field Artillery Regiment. We expected to see Pete pull up with at least a couple of helpers. We wouldn't have been surprised if a second truck hauling a cooker behind it had shown up, too. But nope. Pete showed up hauling his trailer and Pete had no help with him. No other trucks hauling cookers pulled up. This was going to be a one man show.

Pete got some of the soldiers to help him unload his six large Big Green Eggs and the monster coolers which held all the meat, slaw, potato salad and beans. During the event, soldiers helped to serve the food. But the cooking was all Pete. He started the cookers up, prepped the meat (18 pork butts, 6 beef briskets), tended the fires, pulled and chopped the pork, chopped the brisket, all by himself. This was a one-man effort and truly shows the desire on the part of American Spirit BBQ to says thanks to our troops. We helped now and then, but of course, our job was taking photos to document the event. It was hot and humid and at the end of the event, we were exhausted. We can only imagine how tired Pete was after the
event.

So, we just wanted to express our admiration for American Spirit BBQ and their drive and energy to get some of these events completed. We hope you will think about the individuals making these events happen and will possibly monitor their Facebook pages, looking for opportunities to donate your time or your money. It's a worthy cause and one that needs your support.

By the way, if you are wondering about the photo, as a part of Family Day, the unit put on a live fire demonstration. The photo shows one of the HUMARS launching a rocket that traveled about 7.5 miles before coming down who knows where. (Actually, the Army knows where it came down. They spent a whole lot of time making sure they knew EXACTLY where these rockets were landing!) It was pretty impressive, and just another reason to attend one of these events. There is often an opportunity to view some of the "neat toys" the military uses as a part of their mission.

- TNW

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