West, Texas (Explosion) / 16,000 Meals over 8 Days

A massive explosion and fire at a fertilizer plant in the small town of West, Texas, which badly damaged a five-block area.The blast was so massive and deafening, its ground motion registered as an earthquake. So far 12 deaths have been confirmed with another 60 people unaccounted for.

When OBR volunteers arrived in the late afternoon in West, they quickly found out that the Red Cross & Salvation Army were not cooking any hot meals. Knowing what a simple hot meal can provide for someone who hasn’t had one in a while, they quickly setup smokers and got food going. Later that evening, they were able to serve 500 hot meals.

During the deployment, OBR was approached and asked to cater two memorial services for fallen firefighters. One of which was from a Dallas engine company but had lived in the town of West. The entire engine company from Dallas came up for the memorial, a very humbling experience.

At the conclusion of the four-day operation, OBR volunteers had served 4,765 hot meals to grateful residents and first responders and left behind plenty of food for the VFW to continue feeding people.

Little did we know that all the other organizations inexplicably decided to pull out that evening, leaving the town and first responders in quite a predicament. Not knowing what to do, they reached out to OBR and asked if we could return. Our great volunteers in Texas turned around and were back in the town of West the following day, staying on-site and cooking for an additional four days.

During the eight days that OBR volunteers were in West, they cooked over 16,000 meals, providing food to victims, emergency personnel and countless volunteers helping the community. After learning that volunteers who were supposed to provide breakfast to students housed in hotels with their families did not show up, OBR volunteers provided breakfast to 75 students at their school so they would not go hungry. Our most proud moment was delivering food to the homes of the fallen firefighters for their private memorial services. BBQ is known as comfort food, and we would like to think we brought a little comfort to the families in their time of need.

OBR Participants:

Bryan McClarty, Michael McAnulty, Troy King, Amber Taylor King, Gerald Maynard, Laura Lowe Blount, Mark Barron, Randy Dunn, Carole Ritter, Royce Zatopek, Robert Waters, Aaron Byrd, Jill Lewis, Rayma Lynn LePoris, Gene Pruett, Ty Hillin, Rick Busick, Lance Carlson, Raymond Howey, Michelle Wade, Danny Christian, Tammy Welch Christian, Susan Chupp, Quincy Wallace

We apologize if you or your company is not listed. Things can get crazy during a deployment, and we do the best we can to keep track of all the great volunteers and businesses who help make OBR happen.  If you or your company is not listed, please let us know so we can add you to the list.  Email us at  info@operationbbqrelief.org.

Adairsville, Georgia (Tornado) / 5,000 Meals over 3 Days

A team of meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Georgia, surveyed the damage caused by a supercell thunderstorm that tracked across northwest Bartow and central Gordon counties from approximately 11:15 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. on Wednesday, January 30, 2013.

The tornado was rated at the high end of EF-3 with an estimated peak wind at 160 MPH. The path of the tornado was 21.8 miles long and, at its maxium, was 900 yards wide. The tornado resulted in one fatality and 17 injuries. Nine injuries were located in Bartow County and eight were located in Gordon County.

In Bartow County, at least 95 structures were damaged. Thirty-one were destroyed, 17 sustained major damage and 47 sustained minor damage. Most of the damage occurred as a result of trees falling on homes in downtown Adairsville.

In Gordon County, 268 homes suffered damage. Of these, 30 were completely destroyed, 110 sustained major damage and 70 sustained minor damage. Sixty-six of the structures damaged were mobile homes, and 202 were single-family homes.

OBR arrived in Adairsville less than 24 hours after the community was rocked by the tornado, a record for us. In three days, when a shocked and dazed community needed it most, volunteers served up 5000 meals. Our volunteers and donors made this very impactful operation possible, and we thank you all!

Sponsors:
 
Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse, Bubba Que
BBQ Teams involved included:
Holy Smokes BBQ Team
We apologize if you or your company is not listed. Things can get crazy during a deployment, and we do the best we can to keep track of all the great volunteers and businesses who help make OBR happen.  If you or your company is not listed, please let us know so we can add you to the list.  Email us at  info@operationbbqrelief.org.

Hoboken, Staten Island, Long Beach and Brick, New Jersey (Hurricane Sandy) / 100,200 Meals over 12 Days

Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive tropical cyclone of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the second-costliest hurricane in United States history. While it was a Category 2 storm off the coast of the Northeastern United States, the storm became the largest Atlantic hurricane on record (as measured by diameter, with winds spanning 1100 miles).

Preliminary estimates assess damage at nearly $75 billion, a total surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina. At least 285 people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. The severe and widespread damage the storm caused in the United States, as well as its unusual merge with a frontal system, resulted in the nicknaming of the hurricane by the media and several organizations of the U.S. government “Superstorm Sandy”.

Hurricane Sandy slammed into the US Northeast Coast on October 29th. Knowing this would be a very large disaster, OBR began shipping supplies to New Jersey ahead of time. The Shedd BBQ & Blues joint even packed up a truck full of supplies and sent it on its way all the way from Mississippi. Once it was safe to do so, on November 3rd, using experience gained in the triple deployment in IL, IN & KS, OBR teams from the surrounding states setup operations in Hoboken & Neptune, NJ, as well as a third site in Manhattan, NY.

At the end of day 1, OBR volunteers had already served 5000 hot meals to displaced residents and first responders. Meal totals quckly shot up in the coming days: 9500 on day two, 8000 on day four, and 9000 on day five.

But things soon took a turn for the worse. Just five days laters, a Nor’Easter hit, bringing with it cold, sleet and snow. While the FEMA location in Brick, NJ put up a sign that they were closed because of the weather, OBR volunteers kept putting out hot meals. Day 5 in New York saw the return of Hogzilla and Cousin Ed from Taylor Farms Smokehouse in Tenessee. At the height of operations, OBR teams were cooking in nine seperate locations in New York & New Jersey, teaming up with other organizations such as Mercy Chef’s and The BBQ Brethren. Once operations wound down to a close 12 days later, OBR volunteers had cooked an incredible 100,200 hot meals for first responders and residents, making Operation Sandy the second largest deplyment behind Joplin. During this time, OBR had received generous donations from 40 states and two countries.

Sponsors:

Main Street Meats, Sal’s Fruit Tree, Clare Rose Distributors, Long Island Firewood, Babylon Village Meat Market, Thermo-King, NEBS, Seventh St Photography, Meat Company NJ, Local Smoke BBQ, Zafar Produce

OBR Participants:

Joe Saccente, Marc Azzarello, Anthony and Laura Kuka-Valois, NJ National Guard, Nina Schenker, Stephen Engler, Squire Rose Group, Diane Srodin Engler, Natalie Torres, Francesca Guido, Gianna Guido, Natalie Rodriguez, Gianna Scardino, Robert Taylor, Robert Marion

BBQ Teams involved included:

Santa Claus, JC’s Barbecue, Blazzin’ Butts, Grill Scouts, Brothers in Smoke, Purple Pork Masters, Cues Your Daddy, Big Barry Q, Mr. Dirts BBQ, Grim Reaper Smokers, Long Island Luau, Out of the Ashes, Baldwin Butt Burners, Buenos Diaz, BBQ Bandit, Smokin’ Irish, Lunchmeat, Ack-Cue, Lazy River BBQ, Dr. Pearls Medicinal Smoke, Chicken Chokers, Guyon Rescue, Three Men and a Baby Back, Tell You What BBQ, Basic BBQ Team, ZBQ, Uncle Jed, Hart Attack, Que and Half Men, Mafia BBQ, Taylor Farms Smokehouse, Jacked Up, Local Smoke, Lakeside, Wilbur’s Revenge, Yabba Dabba Que, The Handsome Devil

We apologize if you or your company is not listed. Things can get crazy during a deployment, and we do the best we can to keep track of all the great volunteers and businesses who help make OBR happen. If you or your company is not listed, please let us know so we can add you to the list. Email us at info@operationbbqrelief.org.

Louisiana and Mississippi / (Hurricane Isaac) / 55,000 Meals over 11 Days

Via Reuters: Hurricane Isaac has caused up to $1 billion in economic losses for offshore energy properties and up to $1.5 billion in insured losses onshore in Louisiana and neighboring states, disaster modeler Eqecat said on Wednesday.

Within days, OBR volunteers from neighboring states were on the scene setting up in St. Bernard Parish and teaming up with Operation Blessing International. Several days later, a second location was opened in Louisiana as well as a location in Mississippi. After 11 days, 49,000 meals were served in Louisiana, and an additional 6000 meals were served in six days in Mississippi for a total of 55,000.

Sponsors:

The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint, CitiIMPACT Ministries (IMPACT Ministries), Operation Blessing International, Illinois BBQ Alliance, Head Country, 17th Street Bar & Grill.

We apologize if you or your company is not listed. Things can get crazy during a deployment, and we do the best we can to keep track of all the great volunteers and businesses who help make OBR happen. If you or your company is not listed, please let us know so we can add you to the list. Email us at info@operationbbqrelief.org.

Colorado Springs, Colorado (Fire) / 1,700 Meals over 3 Days

The Waldo Canyon Fire was a forest fire that started approximately four miles northwest of Colorado Springs on June 23, 2012, and one mile from a western neighborhood. It was declared 100% contained on July 10, 2012, after no smoke plumes were visible on a small portion of the containment line on Blodgett Peak.

The fire had caused the evacuation of over 32,000 residents of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and Woodland Park, several small mountain communities along the southwestern side of Highway 24, and partial evacuation of the United States Air Force Academy. Approximately 346 homes were destroyed by the fire. U.S. Highway 24, a major east-west road, was closed in both directions.

At the beginning of July, OBR volunteers were on the scene but faced a new unique challenge. How do you cook barbeque in the middle of a forest fire? After all, we didn’t want to start another fire. Well, the answer this time was propane. It was not ideal, but since they couldn’t have wood fires burning, the OBR teams needed to compromise. Once the operation was completed 3 days later, OBR volunteers had cooked 1700 meals for first responders and victims.

OBR Participants:

Cory Sisto, Jordan Sisto, William Ledford, David Forney, Brian Nevel

We apologize if you or your company is not listed. Things can get crazy during a deployment, and we do the best we can to keep track of all the great volunteers and businesses who help make OBR happen. If you or your company is not listed, please let us know so we can add you to the list. Email us at info@operationbbqrelief.org.

Royse City, Texas (Tornado) / 2,500 Meals over 3 Days

Several strong to mostly weak tornadoes touched down near Dallas and Fort Worth and points east. This included an EF-3 in Forney, Texas, which devastated the Diamond Creek subdivision and a school in town. It was estimated on April 5 that over 1100 homes were damaged in the outbreak, including at least 349 that were destroyed. Remarkably, despite hitting heavily populated areas, no one was killed and very few people were injured.

OBR volunteers setup at Bootleg BBQ in Royse City. Larry Newberry shut down his operation and turned it into a relief command post, forsaking any business of his own for the week. His location is the first spot in Texas where Operation BBQ Relief has set up, and as such, we left the OBR banner hanging inside his business for all customers coming in to see.

During the three day relief operation, OBR volunteers served just over 2500 meals to tornado victims and first responders. This operation marked the 8th state in which OBR volunteers have cooked meals. It also put the total number of hot meals served by OBR since its inception in Joplin, MO, in May 2011 at over 150,000 meals.

Sponsors:

Interstate Batteries, Stubbs BBQ Sauce, Western Wood Company,

BBQ Teams involved included:

Big Fish BBQ, VFW Post 5076,

We apologize if you or your company is not listed. Things can get crazy during a deployment, and we do the best we can to keep track of all the great volunteers and businesses who help make OBR happen.  If you or your company is not listed, please let us know so we can add you to the list.  Email us at  info@operationbbqrelief.org.

Dexter, Michigan (Tornado) / 2,300 Meals over 3 Days

The EF-3 tornado left a path seven miles long and nearly half a mile wide. It left large amounts of destruction, but fortunately, there were no deaths or serious injuries attributed to the storm.

The tornado hit at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, and by 3 p.m. on Friday, OBR volunteers were setting up and preparing to get meals out. The three day operation totaled 2300 meals served to tornado victims, volunteers and emergency response personnel.

SPONSORS:

LaFontaine Chevrolet, Busch’s supermarket, Sysco in Canton, Sams Club in Ypsilanti, Costco, Meijer in Dexter, Great Harvest Bakery, Country Market, Lockharts BBQ in Royal Oak

OBR Participants:

Steve Coddington, Steven Fennelly, Tom Earl, Bruce Bissonnette, Mike Terry, Kenn Earl, Mark McPherson, Rich Parker, Jim Mobley, Dick Bourdow, Mike Mather, Genise Davis, Bruce Mcenroe, Scott Fischer, Jason & kerri Winne

BBQ Teams involved included:

Slowburn Catering, Full Metal BBQ, IBQ’n, Rubbed, Sauced and Smoked, Bavarian Smoke, Scotts Pig Roast

We apologize if you or your company is not listed. Things can get crazy during a deployment, and we do the best we can to keep track of all the great volunteers and businesses who help make OBR happen.  If you or your company is not listed, please let us know so we can add you to the list.  Email us at  info@operationbbqrelief.org.

Kansas, Illinois, Indiana (Tornado) / 15,500 Meals over 9 Days

Disaster: As many as 17 tornadoes across multiple states Classification: EF-2 Harveyville, KS; EF-4 Harrisburg, IL; EF-4 Marysville, IN Casualties: Harveyville, KS: Eight or nine people injured, 40%-60% of the town destroyed Harrisburg, IL: Six people dead and 100 injured, 250-300 buildings damaged or destroyed Marysville, IN Area:  14 dead, hundreds injured. Nearly every home in Marysville was either destroyed or damaged. Nearby Henryville, IN, suffered significant damage as well. On the evening of February 29th, numerous tornadoes ripped across the Midwest causing widespread damage. Suspected tornadoes killed 14, as the powerful storms ripped through the Midwest, obliterating homes, churches and businesses across six states.

Within thirty six hours of tornados touching down, OBR volunteers from the Kansas City area were in downstate Harrisburg, IL. Joining up with a team from the 17th Street Bar & Grill, a local BBQ restaurant in nearby Murphysboro, IL, they once again began cooking hot meals for displaced residents and first responders.

The National Weather Service reported that on Friday night, March 2nd, two tornadoes, one an EF-4 packing 175 mph winds, hit Henryville, IN an area north of Louisville, KY. The first was on the ground for 52 miles and measured about 150 yards wide. A second, smaller tornado passed through the town a short while later. Taylor Farms Smokehouse in Tennessee, which had previously worked with OBR in Joplin, responded on Saturday to Marysville, IN which was almost obliterated by tornados the previous night.

Monitoring the situation in Harveyville, KS, OBR teams responded on Saturday, after officials allowed non-residents into the town.

This was the first time that OBR had provided disaster relief in three states simultaneously.

Apprised of the extent of the damages to the surrounding communities, the team from Harrisburg finished up and continued on to Marysville to provide additional assistance.

In a surprise twist on Tuesday, a group of volunteers from Joplin, MO unexpectedly showed up to assist in Marysville, IN. As one of the members said, “We are here to help payback what was paid to us.”

When Operation BBQ Relief finally ended operations after 9 long days and nights, OBR volunteers had traveled 1500 miles and cooked over 1800 meals in Harveyville, KS; 5200 meals in Harrisburg, IL; and 7500 meals in Marysville, IN.

Jefferson County, Alabama (Tornado) / 5,700 Meals over 4 Days

The National Weather Service said at least six different tornadoes skipped across central Alabama, causing damage across a wide area. The strongest hit Jefferson County, with winds up to 150 MPH. The first tornado, an EF-2 with 130 MPH winds, left a path of destruction 880 yards wide and 13 miles long, killing one man. The second tornado to hit Jefferson County, an EF-3 with 150 MPH winds, stayed on the ground for 22 minutes and killed a 16-year-old girl.

Within 48 hours, Competition BBQ teams from Operation BBQ Relief were setting up in the parking lot of Clearview Baptist Church in Pinson, Alabama. Even though other disaster relief organizations didn’t think the need was there, OBR managed to feed 5,700 hot meals to weary first responders and tornado victims.

Sponsors:Bub-Ba-Que, Red Diamond Tea, Wood Fruitticher Food Service Distribution, Royal Oak, Grace Kitchen, Max Packaging, St. Joseph’s Anglican Church, The Masons Clay Lodge, Academy Sports, Evans Meat, National BBQ News, Grissom High School, Clearview Baptist Church

OBR Participants:

Lynn Entrekin, Scott Gorham, Gary Lanton, Dionn Lanton, Kell Phelps, Baily Phelps, Michael Gochnour, Jody Harris, Steve Chatham, Heath Fant, Conner Sullivan, Annett Davis, Charles Webster, Carolyn Webster

BBQ Teams involved included:

Spices Smokehouse, Holy Smokes BBQ Team, National BBQ News

We apologize if you or your company is not listed. Things can get crazy during a deployment, and we do the best we can to keep track of all the great volunteers and businesses who help make OBR happen.  If you or your company is not listed please let us know so we can add you to the list.  Email us at  info@operationbbqrelief.org.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (Flooding) / 5,000 Meals over 3 Days

Hurricane Irene swept through the Caribbean and eastern portion of the United States, flooding several areas from North Carolina to Maine. Then soon after Tropical Storm Lee soaked the Midwest then the Northeast, leaving many inches of rain and leading to the worst flooding in Pennsylvania in 40 years.

Teams from Operation BBQ Relief setup in the parking lot at Walmart off of HWY 322 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In three days, Operation BBQ Relief volunteers distributed over 5000 meals to displaced residents and first responders.

We apologize if you or your company is not listed. Things can get crazy during a deployment, and we do the best we can to keep track of all the great volunteers and businesses who help make OBR happen.  If you or your company is not listed, please let us know so we can add you to the list.  Email us at info@operationbbqrelief.org.