By Gregg Snyder
I would love to live and breath BBQ 24/7, but this thing called work gets in my way sometimes. I had just arrived back home and was trying to recover from my second sinus surgery in 30 months when Mother Nature decided she was going to show her fury on the town of Adairsville, GA. This unlucky North Georgia town was almost leveled due to a massive tornado. After hearing about the devastation, I discovered that the Operation Barbecue Relief (OBR) team was heading over to help out, and I knew I was going to be there for sure.
I joined OBR last year at the NBBQA conference in San Diego, CA. I knew from hearing their stories that this was a great group of people dedicated to helping others in their time of need and was more than glad to join them with my support. Before joining up, I thought to myself, “What a great idea for BBQ people.” Over the past year and since I joined, they have been to many places, as often some event has happened where they could show up and help out. I am proud to be a part of such a great group that has helped many families across America to cope with the horrible things these storm left behind. This just goes to show exactly how resilient the American spirit really is.
I left home before sunrise on Friday morning to make the 90-minute trip into Adairsville, GA. As I turned off Interstate 75, it looked like I was in another world. I was shocked at how some buildings were still standing and others look like a bomb had exploded in them. After a few miles, I found our site where Holy Smokes from Dublin, GA, had set up and were already preparing for the lunch rush.
Once we had lunch served, we had about an hour to plan what would be served for dinner. While working on the dinner menu, we tried the “boiling water in the cooler trick” for corn on the cob. After draining the cooler for the third time, we learned that the corn needed to be thawed before cooking it like this. A huge crowd showed up for supper, and everyone really worked their tails off to make sure no one was turned away.
When I look back at this event, I realize that the worst day in some of these people’s lives turns out to be one of my best barbecue memories. It turned out this way because of the work and dedication of OBR and its members. I urge you to join this team so you can better understand how good it really feels to help those in a time of need.
OBR had volunteers on site in less than 24 hours after the storms.
In three days, OBR and its volunteers helped cook and serve 5,000 meals.
A big thanks goes to Joe Wright and his Bethel Smokers team from Douglas, GA, for use of their cook trailer and smokers.
Operation BBQ Relief and Team Rubico