Veteran Holiday Celebration 2010

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Veteran’s Holiday Celebration

by Ardith Richardson

West Los Angeles Veterans Administration (VA) Facility

For the past 17 years, on the first Sunday in December, the Greater Los Angeles VA Voluntary Service brings together over 700 volunteers, local business, and over 100 restaurants, and the community at large for the annual Veteran’s Holiday Celebration. On 5 December 2010, this union of men and women help maintain the vision of providing a memorable meal, gifts, and entertainment, as well as much needed appreciation for our veterans. As many of the veterans return from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many will be diagnosed and treated with extreme cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and physical injuries. These truths highlight just how important the Annual Veterans' Holiday Celebration has become, by honoring them, welcoming them back and showing, in a small but truly significant way, that there is indeed a home for them to return to.

We all have one common purpose: a strong desire to give back and honor the men and women who put their lives on the line in order for all of us to live in this great nation. The California Barbeque Association (CBBQA) was asked again this year to participate in this event. One of the main goals for the CBBQA is to give back to the community, so it was a natural fit when Tropical Heat BBQ team pitmaster Bill Keyes sent out a call for help at this year’s event.

It was a little different this year as Steve Bayles had delivered Randy Gille's “monster of a smoke” on Saturday near where we were set up last year. But that area was closed in by large tents and things, so when the rest of the teams arrived on Sunday morning, we had to set up at the far end of the parking lot a couple hundred yards away. It changed the logistics a little, and we had to split up into 2 groups. Steve Bayles and Steven Lilly, of “Smokin Steve’s BBQ”, Recie and Shaun Tyson of “Just LRNIN BBQ”, Steve Madaule and Ardith Richardson from “All Hogs go to Heaven”, and Ryan Malone, 8 years old from “All Sauced Up” BBQ team all worked with Randy’s pit, cooking and preparing the turkey, chicken, and tri-tip. Bill and Sherry Keyes and Dan Daniel from “Tropical Heat” BBQ team, Andrew Soto and Teresa from the “Master of Disaster” BBQ team, and Dave Malone of “All Sauced Up” set up in the parking area. There was Bill Keyes pit and Steve Bayles large offset, and two of Andrew’s Stumps Smokers going full bore. We prepared and smoked whole turkeys, half turkeys, and more tri tips than we could count.

Over 5,000 Veterans were served Sunday afternoon with a great meal, live music and entertainment. Volunteers delivered food and goody bags to all the Vets who were confined to their hospital rooms and could not make it down to the tent area. All in all, we had a great time, all the hard work was worth it. This heart warming “giving back” event is what the California BBQ Association is all about!

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