For the past 9 years the “Warrior Barbecuers” have been privileged and honored to cook and serve BBQ to wounded warriors, their families and staff at Fort Campbell, Ky., and Operation Homefront.
It all began in 2010 at “The Jack Daniels BBQ Contest” when H.O.O.A.H. soldiers approached Randy McGee of Memphis BBQ Network and Pat Burke of “Tower Rock BBQ” and “BBQ Hall of Fame” regarding starting a BBQ competition at Fort Campbell. A mock contest was organized with several M.B.N. teams, with warriors doing the judging. Each team was presented with the 101st Airborne Eagles head as a trophy. Pat Burke’s Tower Rock BBQ team was awarded the Grand Champion Banner. After judging, over 500 wounded warriors and their families were fed a BBQ meal prepared by the teams and volunteers.
The 2nd year, due to changes in administration, the BBQ was moved off post to a government park connected to the post. The teams and volunteers again fed over 500 warriors and family. The 3rd year the event was moved to Appleton Harley Davidson in Clarksville, Tenn., where teams and volunteers fed soldiers and cooked and sold BBQ as a fundraiser for Operation Homefront for 4 years.
Through a connection on an Operation Barbecue Relief (OBR) deployment, Hap Zook and Rob Marion (Two Worthless Nuts BBQ Team) met. In conversation Hap learned Rob was a family counselor at Fort Campbell, and told him the background and how the teams would like to be back on post. Rob connected Hap & Becky Zook with Stacy Auguste at Fort Campbell. Working with Stacy and submitting a proper legal request, we have been privileged to return the last 4 years to feed the WWTB (Wounded Warrior Transition Battalion), their families and staff. A complete meal of BBQ chicken, ribs, pulled pork, beans, slaw and cookies was served. Plans are already being made for 2019.
The first year back on post we were asked by Capt. Caston and Commander LTC Finley what our “organization” was called. We did not have a name! Hap told them “each year was so different we are not even organized.” Captain Caston and Colonel Finley then named us “The Warrior Barbecuers.” That year, and each year since, each person volunteering with us has been presented with a medallion and a certificate with our new name.
“The Warrior Barbecuers” are strictly a volunteer group. Along with some minor contributions, all expenses have been out of pocket for those involved. We would like to thank Ruel Neal Post 79 of LeRoy, Ill.,, where Hap is a member, for their continued support each year. For 2018 we requested and received a grant from the national American Legion that paid for all food and dry goods. We were only responsible for our own travel, food and lodging.
Hap & Becky would like to thank those involved with the 2018 WWTB Feed for all their hard work and dedication. Pat Burke of Pat’s BBQ, Merrill Fuller, Tom Welton, Patrick Burke, Chet Snyder, Randy Brown of “Bubba’s BBQ”, Chris & Laurel Mills of “Flying Pigs BBQ”, Mike & Cindi Ball, Jerry & Jeri Moreland, Gorden & Melinda Beck. We would also like to thank The Legend, Mike Mills of “17th Street BBQ” and “BBQ Hall of Fame” for providing us with the “Ole Hickory Pits”. In spirit, thank you to Terry Griffith of “Wild Boar Smokers” and Chuck Fager of “Tower Rock BBQ.” You will always be missed!
Whenever you see a soldier or veteran, please be sure and thank them for their sacrifices and your freedom.