JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
A former Special Forces medic who spent time recovering at the Center for the Intrepid at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston decided to make a stop at Brooke Army Medical Center May 20 to provide a barbecue lunch for patients, staff and family members.
Jarrid "Jay" Collins was wounded in combat and is a below-the-knee amputee. He is currently cross country running, biking and hand-cycling across America from Los Angeles to Tampa, Florida, the site of the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games.
During his journey, he stopped at BAMC to honor staff and patients by serving more than 8,000 meals of barbecued brisket, sausage, beans and cole slaw.
“I am an alumni of this area right here; the Center for the Intrepid and BAMC,” he said. “We would not be able to do these things that we do without people first investing in us. I want to say thank you for what you guys do every single day. It does not go unnoticed. We are a reflection of what you do.”
BAMC Commanding General Brig. Gen. George Appenzeller thanked Collins and the volunteers who put the event together.
“I just want to say thank you,” the general said. “You do a lot for people and their families and you are about to do a lot for thousands of people and their families here at BAMC.”
Collins is currently the director of non-disaster programs for Operation BBQ Relief which provides meals during natural disasters. As part of the Operation BBQ Relief’s Non-Disaster Program, the Always Serving Project is visiting eight cities in 50 days as part of The Breaking Bread Tour.
“The Breaking Bread Tour is Operation BBQ’s launch for our non-disaster programs,” Collins explained. “As we do this, it’s important for people to understand that it doesn’t matter where we come from or what our beliefs are, there are so many things that unite us.”
The volunteers, who are used to serving between 50,000 to 55,000 people, efficiently ran the meal lines. They were able to provide to-go meals for people who could not attend to the event and night shift staff members.
“The food was fantastic,” said BAMC employee Anthony Hopkins. “It was great for the troops.”
Jessica Prieto agreed.
“It was nice to see a former patient coming back to provide this event for our staff,” Prieto said. “He has overcome so much, hopefully other warriors can see that they too can have a positive recovery.”
According to their website, Operation BBQ Relief was founded in May 2011 in response to a need for relief efforts in tornado-stricken Joplin, Missouri. They continue to respond to natural disasters and other situations to help feed displaced residents and emergency personnel.