LANGSVILLE — Legion members offered a free BBQ dinner to those who served this past weekend.
The Joseph Freeman American Legion Post #476 hosted its inaugural Veterans Day Barbecue Dinner on Saturday.
Derek Hartman of Vinton County was in charge of the event. Hartman joined Post 476 three years ago after retiring as a Navy Chief Petty officer having served 20 years. He said whipping up a barbecue dinner for his fellow veterans was a pleasure as he has been involved with competition barbecuing since 2013. He began his journey in competitive barbecuing when he was stationed in NORAD/USNORTHCOM Colorado Springs; he competed in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska. Preparation for the event began three months prior for advertising purposes and collecting donations. Local businesses such as Tidbits (Gallia, Jackson, Vinton, Meigs, and Mason Counties), Rolling Hills Generating (Wilkesville), Ohio Valley Bank (Gallipolis), Gallipolis Chiropractic Center (Gallipolis), R&C Packing (Bidwell), Blazer Cakes (Bidwell), Guinthers Custom Meats (Gallipolis), McDonald’s (Gallipolis), and Heiners Bakery (Gallipolis) were the event’s support system.
Hartman, along with his wife Cara Sanborn-Hartman and father-in-law Rob Sanborn, started preparing 10 slabs of Boston pork butt on Friday evening by trimming the meat. The slow-roasting began at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning as to cook for 12 hours. By 5 p.m. that evening enough meat to serve up to 200 was ready to eat. The main course of the meal was a choice between a pulled pork sandwich or hot dog served with chips, potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw. A hand-made cake donated by Blazer cakes was for dessert. Veterans and their spouses received a free meal after presentation of I.D. and other guests paid five dollars for a plate. Diners had an option to participate in a 50/50 drawing in which $80 went to the winner, while the other half plus $20 went to Ken Smith Scout Master 91. Smith along with his Boy Scouts Troop 91 helped deliver orders, prep meals in the kitchen, and clean up. Smith said his troop was enthusiastic to help. He was thankful to attend the event to give his troop awareness of honoring veterans.
Hartman was pleased with the turnout being over 80 meals served, but has hope the event will see progress in years to come. Hartman said his guests were a pleasant crowd and was told by many their meals were delicious. The Veteran’s Day Barbecue dinner will now be held on the second Saturday in November yearly. The Joseph Free American Legion Post #476 holds a meeting the second Wednesday each month at 8 p.m. and welcomes newcomers.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.