Competitive barbecuers cook for Camp Gruber evacuees

Saturday, September 10th 2005, 6:08 pm
By: News On 6

Hurricane evacuees housed at Camp Gruber got a little break from their worries Saturday
Competitive barbecuers from all over Green Country used their skills for a labor of love and treated the entire group to a feast. The Blue Star Moms put out the call and the cooks came running, with 3 quarters of a ton of donated meat.

Normally tough competitors this time they stood side by side at the grill to share something they love with those in need.

Lt Colonel Russ Garrett: "What's really important is just giving back."

Retired Lt Colonel Russ Garrett rounded up some of the best BBQers in the country. On the circuit he's known as the Smokin' Okie.

Lt Colonel Russ Garrett: "I have a huge cooker, I can do 750 pounds of meat."

Garrett tried to deflect attention saying his volunteers want nothing in return.

Lt Colonel Russ Garrett: "We won't see the people inside the compound, but if we can just give em some good food, maybe just for a little bit, they won't be thinking about other things and just enjoy the food."

Ray Gonzalez spent days in his home surrounded by floodwaters. Now he's thrilled to be in a safe place he says makes him feel very welcome.

Ray Gonzalez: "All the people here are amazing. Everybody wants to help, you know, the food."

For many here this is the first home-cooked meal they've had in a long time a welcome sight so many miles from the lives they were forced to leave behind.

Doris Farlough: "Everybody's been very compassionate, everybody's been wonderful... I've got no complaints or anything like that, everybody's been wonderful."

Lt Colonel Russ Garrett: “I really don't like all the negative about what hasn't been done, what's more important is what have you done to improve the situation."

Garrett and his crew made that situation a little brighter if only for a moment.