Saying Thanks with Steaks
The All-American Beef Battalion (AABB) was established in April of 2008. This non-profit organization is run completely by volunteers and is dedicated to hosting steak feeds for the troops, in order to thank them for their service to America.
AABB was the brainchild of Bill Broadie, a Kansas cattleman and Vietnam Veteran. In just four years, Broadie and his crew have served more than 135,000 steaks to soldiers and their families.
“AABB is focused on saying thanks to every man and woman serving our country and protecting our freedoms,” said Broadie. “We are going to keep going and keep serving beef until all of our troops have been thanked. I think this thing is catching on.”
Most recently, AABB traveled to Spearfish, SD, to serve up a ribeye dinner to the 842nd Engineering Company, who just completed a year-long tour in Afghanistan. Close to 500 people were served at the meal, which included 12 ounce ribeyes, scalloped potatoes, corn, dinner roll and juice, along with all-beef hot dogs for the kids.
Service member, Lance Huber, originally from Yankton, SD, was joined by his wife and parents at the event, and he shared what it meant to him and his colleagues.
“For me, an event like this really means a lot,” said Huber, who just took a full-time position with the National Guard in Rapid City, SD. “It’s pretty awesome and very humbling to have an event like this put on for us. Knowing that there was so much support from our community members is amazing. So many people donated money who didn’t know us and will never be able to see the steak feed in action, but they wanted to say thanks.”
The 842nd Engineering Company was spread out in three different locations in Afghanistan, so for many in the unit, this steak feed was the first time they were able to spend time together since their training in the U.S. before their tour of duty.
“Because we were all spread out in Afghanistan, we didn’t get to spend much time together like we did in training, so it was the first time we were able to get together in a casual setting,” he said. “We were all in casual clothes and many were seeing their families for the first time. It was a pretty special event for us.”
Huber said he was impressed with the AABB, with many of the volunteers traveling all the way from Kansas to serve up steaks for the troops.
“I want to give a big thank you to the AABB volunteers, who traveled all the way from Kansas to serve us, and as soon as our event was done, they were headed to Texas to serve down there, as well,” added Huber. “They donate their time, money and talents to saying thank you to the troops; it’s pretty incredible.”
The meal, Huber said, was pretty impressive to many of his peers.
“The ribeyes were huge, and I don’t think a lot of these guys have ever really had a steak like that before,” he said. “Sure, they may have had it once or twice in a fancy restaurant, but this meal was definitely special and memorable for all of us.”
Broadie said that the reward for his volunteer efforts is in meeting men like Huber who serve this country.
“I want to thank our troops for their service; I want them to know they are appreciated,” said Broadie. “It’s very humbling to see these men and women get reunited with their families and enjoy a steak dinner. You can bet they are going to tell their friends about that big ribeye. We are promoting the beef industry while we are thanking the troops. It’s really the best of both worlds.”
For more information on AABB or to donate money to this cause, check out http://www.steaksfortroops.com.