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    USSTRATCOM employee recognizes health care workers, first responders with comfort food

    USSTRATCOM employee recognizes health care workers, first responders with comfort food

    Photo By 94th Airlift Wing | Kris Pierce, 3rd from the left, U.S. Strategic Command community relations specialist,...... read more read more

    OMAHA, NE, UNITED STATES

    04.17.2020

    Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Julie Matyascik 

    U.S. Strategic Command

    As the iconic television personality Mister Rogers famously said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

    In these challenging times, the helpers are everywhere - including one of U.S. Strategic Command’s (USSTRATCOM) own. Kris Pierce, a USSTRATCOM community relations professional and a BBQ aficionado, came up with a lofty goal to help uplift community heroes with comfort food during COVID-19.

    “We want to support the heroes who are putting themselves in harm’s way during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pierce. “It’s our way of saying ‘thanks’ by providing a home-cooked meal to those who create a protective wall on the front lines that help fight, treat and shield our community from the virus.”

    With the creation of a Facebook group, the “BBQ to the Rescue” project, with its goal to “Support the Wall that Protects Us All," hit the ground running.

    Within a week, Pierce and more than 40 volunteers helped raise funds, acquire a commercial kitchen, and recruit bakeries and grocery stores to donate supplies in support of the effort.

    Following 30 hours of prepping, cooking, coordination and delivery, a handful of volunteers provided pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans and coleslaw lunches to more than 300 healthcare professionals at CHI Health Immanuel hospital in Omaha.

    “It is our hope that each meal provides a small break in the stress of caring for our fellow citizens during this pandemic,” said Pierce. “We want to let these brave souls know that their community is behind them. We’re thankful each and every day that they are standing their posts and fighting on our behalf.”

    The volunteers may see it as a small deed of kindness but in the eyes of the healthcare workers, it is a ‘positive impact and greatly appreciated,’ According to Kathy Bertolini, CHI Health Foundation division vice president of philanthropy.

    “On behalf of the physicians, nurses and community,” Bertolini stated, “Thank you very much for your generous support to the CHI Health employees through this COVID-19 pandemic. We are truly grateful.”

    As COVID-19 continues to impact the area, Pierce and the BBQ to the Rescue squad, continue to look for opportunities to help build morale, give people hope and create a community among friends and strangers. The project has recently received donations from Girl Scouts, restaurants and businesses, and gained attention from local news stations.

    “The generosity is growing and the donations are building,” said Pierce. “showing this community’s heartfelt appreciation for first responders.”

    By their second week after establishment, BBQ to the Rescue has also helped provide lunches to over 450 healthcare providers at CHI Health Lakeside. In the upcoming weeks, they have more hospitals, police and fire stations lined up for deliveries.

    “Providing lunch for our healthcare workers at Lakeside, Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy and CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs will allow us to say thank you to over 1,000 healthcare workers that are putting themselves between us and COVID-19,” said Pierce. “With the help of the community, our goal is to reach every hospital, police and fire station in the metropolitan area.”

    It takes all kinds of helpers to get us through a crisis. One may find the helpers one needs, or become the helper someone else needs - like Kris - a son, husband, father and U.S. Army veteran.

    To get more information on how to volunteer and support the BBQ to the Rescue project, visit their Facebook group: http://facebook.com/groups/3476676252349346.

    For more information, contact the USSTRATCOM Public Affairs Office at 402-912-0020 or USSTRATCOMPA@mail.mil or visit www.stratcom.mil.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.17.2020
    Date Posted: 04.25.2020 21:31
    Story ID: 368492
    Location: OMAHA, NE, US 
    Hometown: INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US

    Web Views: 63
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN