…or sister, with complements to ‘The Youngbloods’ and a sense of ‘what happened to THAT sentiment???’ – I mean, the sixties weren’t TOO far back on the calendar, but with all that’s going on in the world today, that song seems a vague reflection of an idealistic vision. One that is still perfectly achievable in my humble opinion.
I know it’s a tad ‘off topic’, but to lay the foundation for this Blog I should point out that ‘Pre-BBQ’ (and even ‘post-BBQ’) I spent some time helping people. For nearly 20 years I worked as a ‘street paramedic’ and then spent another 3 working as a Procurement Transplant Coordinator (the guy who would show up when the time came to facilitate the wishes of Organ Donors). It is an amazing thing to have the capacity and capability to help others in their hours of need and the satisfaction that you take away from making a small difference in the lives of others is something that cannot be described in words. It was an honor and privilege and they are memories (happy and sad…very…very sad) that I will keep forever. Delivered 12 babies, cut six throats to put airways in (not with a jack knife and pen, but same concept), performed skills in the back of an ambulance going 80mph on beat up old country roads…and held a LOT of hands, providing comfort to people from all backgrounds!
SO, this post isn’t necessarily about ME…it’s about YOU…and your ability to make a difference, no matter how small! As a ‘BBQ Guy’, I have had the great fortune to be able to continue to give back. Last year following the Tornadoes that literally cut a swath right through Alabama, I watched for about a week on TV until I couldn’t take it anymore. I finally loaded up the ‘big smoker’, cleaned out my bank accounts and headed off to Morgan County, Alabama. The Kansas City BBQ Society (www.kcbs.us) hooked me up with a fellow named Ronnie Harwell who lived in that area and had ‘connections’, he took 3 days off work and came out to help me cook until all the food was gone for the residents and rescuers at the Sheriff’s Command Center over Mother’s Day Weekend. It was a amazing and humbling experience and they were INCREDIBLE people in every respect!
Less than a month later, Joplin, Missouri was hit with a now legendary Tornado and quite a few BBQ Teams and Caterers from the Kansas City area and around the country came together in a parking lot and did the same thing on an INCREDIBLE scale! I got to be a VERY small part of it for a short time and cannot explain how amazing it was! What eventually became Operation BBQ Relief (www.OperationBBQRelief.org) was born and over 120,000 free BBQ meals were prepared in that parking lot, providing food and brotherhood to folks that were badly in need. Since that beginning, nearly 160,000 meals have been prepared and donated to people recovering from disasters all across the country by OBR and its members and there are many great things yet to come from this worthy organization!
The past year for me has been VERY challenging in MANY ways…physically, fiscally, emotionally and more. It’s been difficult at times to think about just getting through the DAY let alone the year, but I’m a ‘BBQ Guy’ and we NEVER QUIT! So, my ability to ‘give’ in traditional ways has not been as robust as it’s been in the past, but I continue to do so. One of my favorite ‘new causes’ is Share Our Strength’s (SOS), No Kid Hungry campaign. (www.nokidhungry.org) It is hard to fathom, but 1 in 5 kids in America is struggling with hunger and there is a LOT that can be done about it! Hard for me to believe that the BBQ community can’t be a BIG part of the solution! In fact, I just read an article the other day about some BBQ Brothers and Sisters in Detroit working with a local charity to cook free meals for kids and I hope that it’s something I’ll be seeing more of! It’s definitely something that I will be DOING more of and I hope that you’ll think about it too!
These days it’s hard to get through a news cycle without feeling like we are the most divided nation I can remember in my short time on this ball spinning around. We seem to have become so polarized in many aspects of our lives and one could legitimately ask the question…’what happened to “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”?’ – Well, we’ve got the ability to do something about THAT collectively! Get out in your community, find folks in need and do something to help! No matter how bad your situation, there is probably someone worse and maybe all you’ve got to do is spend some time with them and hold their hand! If you can do more, GREAT…if you can’t, that simple gesture is many times more than enough! If you’d like to volunteer for or donate to either of the above charities, visit their websites and Take Action today…they could use your support!
Thanks for reading along, and BE GOOD!!!