I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of serving as the volunteer press secretary for the All-American Beef Battalion (AABB) since its modest beginnings in 2008. In just a few years, this group, which says thanks to the troops with ribeye steak dinners, has served more than 80,000 men and women serving our country. To me, there is truly no better way to say thanks, show our patriotism and celebrate the American way than with a grilled cut of beef. On Saturday, Vietnam veteran, cattleman and founder of the AABB, Bill Broadie, brought his crew up from Kansas to host the very first steak feed in South Dakota -- a send-off to the 200th Engineering Company, that was deploying to Afghanistan the following day.
Grills were prepped, food was made and more than 800 people were served at the event. The opening ceremonies included an emotional and powerful welcome from speaker, radio personality and Nebraska cattle rancher, Trent Loos.
"U.S. citizens today do not understand what 236 years of service to protect our freedoms mean. That's why I created Red Shirt Friday, a day set aside to remember our troops each week. Bill Broadie liked the idea and gave me a call one day. He told me that we could do better, and he shared the idea of the AABB with me. Since then, this group has operated on 100% donations, with much of it coming from patriotic farmers and ranchers. Nearly $1 million has been raised to feed 80,000 steaks, and Broadie and his crew have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to put these events on just to say thanks with a ribeye," Loos said.
Loos then introduced Broadie as a visionary, and he took the stage to say a few words, as well.
"It was 44 years ago that I was in Vietnam. I know kind of what you are going through. I wish I was younger, so I could go with you. I have to commend South Dakota on its first steak feed. You folks up here have a big heart and have raised $13,000 to put on this event. God bless every one of you. This steak feed is for you," Broadie said.
BEEF is a proud supporter of the All-American Beef Battalion and its mission to say thanks to the troops with steaks. Here is a list of past articles and blog posts on this group and their efforts:
For more information on this group, link here. To give you a glimpse at these awe-inspiring steak feeds, I have compiled a photo gallery from last weekend, which I hope captures the emotions of the day and the generosity of the folks putting on these events. Check it out here, "Thanking Our Troops."