Stan Hays co-founded Operation BBQ Relief in response the May 2011 Tornado which struck Joplin, MO. At the urging of his wife, Amy, Stan called Jeff Stith to get a group of guys to go to Joplin, MO to cook BBQ for those in need, from that call Operation BBQ Relief started. Stan is married to Amy Hays and has 2 children (Nathan and Anna) during the day Stan works for Farmers Insurance. Many people have a passion for what they do, be it their job, a hobby, family or their spirituality When he has “extra” time his family competes as County Line Smokers. Asked why Operation BBQ Relief is important and why he is involved “Because the feeling you get providing warm BBQ meals to those in need and the hardworking first responders is amazing (I can’t think of another way to say it.)!
Will Cleaver is one of the co-founders and Vice President with Operation BBQ Relief Will’s been involved in the BBQ world for the past 6 years as an award winning competition BBQ cook with his own team Sticks-n-Chicks BBQ and KCBS certified Judge. When not focused on the BBQ season Will is the CTO for Universal Registered Agents. Will resides in Kansas City with his wife Kristie and their 4 children (Zack, Kaylee, Morgan and Madelyn).
Shane’s first involvement with Operation BBQ Relief was in Joplin Missouri where he volunteered for 3 days. “My family and I were in Joplin visiting family when the tornado came through town, luckily we were on the other side of town and unaffected by the storm. Having an emotional connections to the area I knew I wanted to do something to help and OBR gave me the perfect way to get involved and help.”
“I volunteer for Operation BBQ Relief because I love to help people in need. I have a strong drive to make things work no matter how hard they are. My day job keeps me from dropping everything and deploying to most disasters My roll in Operations is a perfect fit, my team and myself work all year long making sure the guys in the field have what the need to make each deployment a success. We may not get all the Glory of being at a deployment but somebody has to maintain our equipment and facilities and we love doing it!”
Jon first involvement with Operation BBQ Relief was in Joplin. Jon lives in Overland Park Kansas with his wife and Christy and daughter Madison. During the day Jon manages a help desk for Agrex. When not working Jon is cooking on his BBQ team Sticks-N-Chicks BBQ. He enjoys the friendships gained from Competition BBQ. Asked why he volunteer with Operation BBQ Relief, “It allows me to so something I love, BBQ, and help those in need.”
At the onset of the 2012 BBQ competition season, I never expected to make the Sam’s Club finals, nor did I know anything about Operation BBQ Relief. As the competition season drew to an end, on Friday October 12, I found myself seeking shelter from a significant thunderstorm at the Sam’s Club finals. Finding refuge, under an outdoor pavilion, a fellow competitor and I started chatting. Stan Hayes and I engaged in an hour long conversation during the storm, and he began to tell me about Operation BBQ Relief, his connection to the organization that he helped found, and all the amazing things that the organization had already accomplished. Being a Famous Dave’s Franchisee, I told Stan I would see how I could get our organization involved. At the time I did not realize how quickly that would happen.
October 29, Hurricane Sandy came barreling up the East Coast. Once the skies cleared, I found that my home and all six of my restaurants were unaffected. I saw all the devastation around me and on the news. I knew that I was the lucky one, and I needed to do something. I was sure OBR would mobilize, and I emailed Stan. I asked him what I could do and how I could help. I assembled some food supplies, packed my bags, hooked up my Southern Pride trailer to my truck and Wilbur’s Revenge was on the move.
I arrived in Brick, NJ and had one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was part of a team that was helping real people in real need. We cooked meals for 10,000 people over the four days I was there, and I had never been prouder to be part of an organization. I made some lifelong friends, despite sleeping on the gym floor, and in my truck during a Nor’easter. When I left Brick, I knew I had made a difference, and I knew OBR had a bright future. I am proud to be a part of Operation BBQ Relief.
Director Disaster Response
Patrick and his wife Kathy live in Fairhope on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Patrick and Kathy became involved with Operation BBQ Relief in the spring of 2012. Prior to his involvement with OBR, Patrick worked disaster relief in Tuscaloosa, AL after the horrific tornado outbreak on April 27, 2011. Patrick spent two weeks in Tuscaloosa directing the distribution of 50,000 meals and over 100,000 pounds of food across north Alabama. Patrick along with his wife compete professionally as BOOTYQUE. They have been competing professionally for three years.
Dana resides in Montvale, NJ with wife Deborah and twin boys James and John and work at Columbia University Medical Center, as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in Cardiothoracic Surgery. Dana became involved with Operation BBQ Relief during Superstorm Sandy. “A community of teams that provides so much at the worst times in peoples lives. Being the site coordinator for Hoboken and Staten Island has exposed me to just a small amount of the volunteers that have given tireslessly to serve over 500,000 meals to the victims and rescue workers of countless disasters. I believe in OBR’s mission and looking forward to serving this great community as a board member.” When time allows Dana is part of a competitive cooking team,Three Men and a Baby Back, with his brothers-in-law “We enjoy cooking any category that allows us to fully express our creativity for the judges. As a competitive BBQ cook, I have been involved in some great moments such as winning the grilling portion of the 2012 Jack, cooking at the American Royal with some of the best pit masters this country has, and spending time with Dan and Marc.”