The Apex Sunrise Rotary Club did not waste any time springing into action to provide assistance to storm victims in Texas following the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Two club members, Jon Hansel and Chuck Piercy, began work immediately to reach out to Operation BBQ Relief, a group that provides meals after disasters, to see what they could do.
Two days later, Jon and Chuck were on their way to Texas, to work alongside hundreds of other volunteers with Operation BBQ Relief to crank out as many as 65,000 meals a day. Both Jon and Chuck have competition BBQ cook teams, so to them this was a natural.
“We have worked with Operation BBQ Relief in the past, most recently here in North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew,” said Chuck. “It is a well-that operation that can move in very quickly and respond.”
Chuck and Jon approached the club for its financial support, and the Apex Sunrise Rotary Club didn’t hesitate.
“This is what Rotary, and what our club is all about,” said Tom Gebbia, president of Apex Sunrise Rotary. “Every member was ready to support this effort.”
“It is always overwhelming with the way Rotary responds to causes,” Jon said. “Once we had the club’s support, we had what we needed to help out.”
While Operation BBQ Relief was working from its base in Houston, the meals were sent across all affected areas of Texas to other victims. The National Guard airlifted meals from Operation BBQ Relief by helicopter to other hard hit areas. They estimate they served more than 370,000 meals in nine days. The relief effort was also the subject of news coverage throughout the operation, including an hour-long national broadcast originating from the site on Fox News Channel.
Chuck and Jon also were able to meet with Rotary District 5890 Governor Bill Palko at the Operation BBQ Relief site. In addition to giving him a first-hand look at their efforts, they exchanged Rotary banners to commemorate the moment.
To help with expenses, the Cary MacGregor club donated $1000 and the Apex Sunrise club donated $1500 to Chuck and John for the Houston relief.
They are now heading back to NC to re-group in case they are needed in Florida.