Don Edwards first heard about Operation BBQ Relief when he was a competition BBQ judge and decided to first volunteer with us in 2018, when Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington, N.C.
“Something in my spirit directed me to volunteer. I remember doing 23,000 meals in the first 2 hours my first morning and I was probably hooked at that point,” Don said.
Don has since become a steadfast Operation BBQ Relief volunteer, receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award for volunteering more than 500 hours last year. Don said an important moment occurred during a deployment to Nashville. Tenn. in 2020 that motivates his dedication to the organization.
“What keeps me going back is my ‘OBR moment’ during the Nashville tornado. I was working the Expo line when a car pulled up that obviously had been through the storm. A young lady got out and while waiting for her order, I found out that she had lost her home and business from the tornado and she was picking up meals for a friend who was housing people in a motel. I thanked her and called her my new hero. She said all she wanted was a hug and we stood there with tears streaming down our faces hugging. If that lady can help others after having her life get turned upside down, then I can certainly go whenever the need arises,” Don said.
Don had a few words for those folks considering volunteering with Operation BBQ Relief.
“OBR has given me so much more than I can ever give back. It’s a very humbling experience that is shared by the most special group of people who only have one purpose – to Serve the One Hot Meal That Matters,” Don said. “You don’t need to know anything about BBQ or cooking but you will learn. There are so many other opportunities to apply your skills.”
To learn how you can volunteer with Operation BBQ Relief, visit https://operationbbqrelief.org/volunteer-obr/ or download the “OBR Volunteers” app on your smartphone.