Jonesboro, Arkansas (Tornado) / 1,000 Meals Over 2 Days

On evening of March 28 th , 2020, a supercell thunderstorm produced several tornados in Arkansas, the most significant being an EF-3 tornado that ripped through Jonesboro. With winds up to 140 mph, the twister left a path of destruction for over 12 miles, damaging homes, businesses, and the local airport.

This deployment hit close to home, as our own Director of Disaster Coordination, Dewayne Daniel, lives in the area. After ensuring his own family and home were okay, Dewayne put on his OBR hat and shifted gears, talking with local authorities and assessing feeding needs immediately the following day.

While most of the areas were self-sufficient, OBR was proud to provide 1700 meals, with the help of Q49 Smokehouse, to first responders and impacted residents.

From the Heart – March 2020

Nashville, Tennessee (Tornado) / 60,780 Meals Over 8 Days

On March 3, severe storms and at least one tornado slammed through central Tennessee. Initial surveys indicated EF-3 tornado damage.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the organizers and volunteers at Operation BBQ Relief for their generous contributions to our community as we recover and rebuild after the devastating March 3rd tornado,” said John Cooper, Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. “In times of hardship, Nashvillians have always been able to count on the support of our neighbors and friends. A hot meal, a warm smile, and a kind word can make a world of difference to those who are working to rebuild their homes and their communities.”

Operation BBQ Relief was fortunate to have the Tennessee Titans organization allow us to set up the command center outside Nissan Stadium.  For eight straight days, Operation BBQ Relief cooked BBQ around the clock and provided 60,780 hot BBQ meals and donated another 60,000 uncooked meals to the city of Nashville and surrounding communities. Thank you to all our donors and volunteers that helped further our efforts to provide the healing power of BBQ.

New Head of Volunteer Services

Operation BBQ Relief is pleased to announce Brian Polak as the new Head of Volunteer Services, effective February 22, 2020.  Brian’s responsibilities include developing and managing all aspects of volunteer engagement and coordination, including strategies to encourage new or increased volunteerism, standard operating procedures for volunteer management tasks, and more.  As a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)®, Brian brings over 20 years of project management experience to OBR.

Brian Polak has supported Operation BBQ Relief in one way or another since its inception in 2011.  After his first deployment to Washington, Illinois, following a 2013 tornado, Brian was determined to do more for the organization.  Brian always wears his OBR gear with pride and eagerly launches into his elevator pitch at the first inquiry of “What’s Operation BBQ Relief?”  As a KCBS Master Judge and competition Pitmaster for Designated Smokin’ Area, Brian always takes advantage of having captive audiences at BBQ competitions to be the quintessential OBR Ambassador.

Brian has served as the Illinois State Lead and later Territory 3 Director, where he worked to develop OBR fundraising opportunities at local BBQ competitions and retail events and served as Site Lead for the 2015 Kirkland/Fairdale deployment in Illinois. He then moved on to become the Director of Volunteer Management in 2017.  In that role he honed the process and tools for getting volunteers registered with Operation BBQ Relief and signed up for events.

Brian is a Sr. Program Manager at AT&T.  He is also a United States Army Veteran, where he worked military intelligence in Germany.  Brian and his wife of 21 years, Laurie, live in Carol Stream, IL, with their two Beagles.  They have two sons, Sean Dwyer (26) and Eric Dwyer (25), who also live in the area.

Join us in congratulating Brian on his new position!