Barbecue conversations can quickly devolve into heated arguments over which state or region offers the best sauce or style. But Jarrid “Jay” Collins, a former Army Green Beret and combat-wounded amputee, has just completed a nationwide tour using barbecue to bring the country together.
Mr. Collins’ Los Angeles-to-Tampa trip was organized to raise awareness for Operation BBQ Relief (OBR), which provides both food and comfort to affected residents and emergency personnel during times of natural and other disasters.
“Having the opportunity to be a part of Operation BBQ Relief and share what we do and give back to others — that’s what it’s all about,” Mr. Collins said in a statement.
On April 28, Mr. Collins began “The Breaking Bread Tour” in Los Angeles and ran, bicycled and hand-cycled all the way to Florida, nearly 3,000 miles. Along the way, others biked or ran with Mr. Collins for portions of the trip.
By traveling 60 miles a day, Mr. Collins arrived in Tampa in time to participate in the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games for adaptive athletes. In 50 days, Mr. Collins and his team treated first-responders and military personnel to grilled pork and other delicacies in seven cities, including Phoenix, El Paso and Panama City.
“‘The Breaking Bread Tour’ and Jay’s dedication to this cross-country journey served as an example of the tremendous impact this program has,” said OBR President and CEO Stan Hays.
Photos and video footage of Mr. Collins’ trip have been posted on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Information of volunteering and contributing to OBR can be found at operationbbqrelief.org.
As the Warrior Games continue, so will the barbecue. The team is serving meals to both athletes and their families.