Gene Boldman

Mar 11, 2024 | Volunteer Spotlights

Gene Boldman first heard about Operation BBQ Relief in 2021 at a Kansas City Barbeque Society competition and was immediately drawn to our mission to feed communities after disasters and enrich the lives of heroes every day.

“I’m retired and was looking for a way to give back, and also add a sense of purpose to help fill time,” Gene said.

He first volunteered with us on a deployment to help those impacted by a tornado in Mayfield, Ky. in 2021.

“I applied for 2 days. Once I hit the ground I was welcomed and felt needed. I added another 2 days and realized this was a great fit for me,” Gene said.

Gene has since become one of our most hardworking volunteers, participating in 20 events, serving as our area coordinator in Ohio, and as membership chair for Ohio Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). He even earned the President’s Volunteer Service Silver Award for volunteering 463 hours with us in 2022.

“You take something away from each deployment or event. You hear people say OBR is a family. They are not just saying it,” Gene said. “I recently had some health issues and was overwhelmed with texts, calls, cards, and even received flowers while in the hospital from OBR volunteers and staff. OBR truly is a family.”

Gene offered advice for those interested in volunteering with Operation BBQ Relief.

“For people thinking about volunteering: quit thinking about it and do it. You don’t need to be a chef or pitmaster. There are many jobs that need to be done,” Gene said. “I would recommend deploying for a couple days and see if it fits you. You can always add more days.”

To learn more about how to volunteer with Operation BBQ Relief, download our “OBR Volunteers” app or visit our website at


Join the #iamOBR movement with a tax deductible monthly contribution where you can select donation options to help support Operation BBQ Relief.


Operation BBQ Relief relies solely on volunteers like you. Whether you are a competition BBQ team, caterer, restaurateur or simply an individual or group wanting to help when disaster strikes, we want you to be a part of this rewarding experience in helping people.