Holiday Cookout To Honor Kansas Guardsmen Before Deployment

By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email
By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email

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Friday, July 3, 2009

A cattle industry group gives Kansas National Guardsmen a star-spangled steak sendoff in advance of their deployment to the Middle East.

"We're cooking steaks," said All American Beef Batallion Worker Larry Bilberry.

The Beef Batallion fires up 1,500 pounds of ribeyes.

Volunteers slice up and serve up the meal to the Guard's 2nd batallion and their families. Feeding more than 1,000 people.

"It's excellent. It's just good food and gives us a chance to spend time with our families before we deploy," said Specialist Brian Strouse.

"I'm glad we actually get to sit down and spend some time together before they leave," said Strouse's wife Alisha.

These troops were the first Kansas batallion to deploy during the Iraq war. Now they're going to Egypt at the end of the month.

After this meal they get to spend the rest of the weekend on leave with their families before heading out.

And since this cookout also coincides with the 4th of July holiday they say it makes it even more special.

"He loves the guards. They are like his second family so it's neat for him to get together on this day. I think it's wonderful," said one soldier's wife Evonne Chism.

The beef batallion formed to honor soldiers all over the country with good food. So far this is the largest steak feed they've done.

"This is just a small piece of what we feel the nation owes these folks for what they're doing," said Bilberry.

And these soldiers are very thankful for the thought and the steaks.

"They did a wonderful job," said Staff Sergeant Earl Chism.

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