Making it Matter in Whitehall, PA: Helping Heroes Feel At Home In Our First Year

Making it Matter in Whitehall, PA: Helping Heroes Feel At Home In Our First Year

If you put ten Pennsylvanians in a room, at least one of them is probably a Veteran. The Keystone State has one of our nation’s highest populations of Heroes who served — nearly 10% — so when MISSION BBQ opened up in Whitehall, we became a welcome home away from home. It has been our honor!

Among the most memorable moments: Attending the ribbon cutting of a new house built for disabled Veteran Christopher Claude. We were privileged to serve a crowd at this touching event made possible by “Building Homes for Heroes,” the extraordinary organization assisting Veterans injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. (www.buildinghomesforheroes.org/heroes/usmc-gysgt-christopher-claude) 

Those who fought for us may also continue to fight a war at home, battling PTSD. Which is why we appreciate the opportunity to be involved with Mission 22, raising awareness of veteran suicide. (www.mission22.com) In May, over 100 supporters met here for lunch, paying tribute to fallen Marine Nick Rodriguez. A 10-foot steel silhouette of him had been created in his honor and we all escorted it afterward to the metal shop where it was to be welded. 

Not far away is the Common Ground Retreat (www.commongroundretreat.com) which helps Veterans transition from the battlefield to civilian life. It has been our privilege to feed those in its “Walk Off The War” program as they travel the Appalachian Trail processing their experiences. Locally, we also truly enjoy serving Valor House, which provides shelter for homeless Veterans. (www.valorclinic.org). In addition, it is an honor to host a dedicated area on our restaurant walls for Gold Star moms so they can “share a meal” with photos of their sons or daughters lost in the service of our country.

Through the generosity of our customers who supported the American Heroes Cup program, we were humbled to help raise funds for local Police, Firefighters and First Responders. It was especially gratifying to assist in the purchase of active shooter vests that protect those who protect our neighborhoods. Whitehall is also home to SIX(!) Fire Halls where we are always eager to drop by with BBQ and sincere appreciation for what they do. And of course, we look forward to welcoming many area EMTs on a daily basis, happy to “rescue” them from hunger. It is our duty, after all.

At the end of the day, though, it’s not about BBQ. It’s about Serving Those Who Serve. Whether making a difference in the lives of our bravest and finest who protect our way of life, laying wreaths on the headstones of Heroes who gave all, or simply inspiring everyday people in Our Community to be proud Americans, that’s what matters. This is a great place to be. Home is where the “Servant’s Heart" is. 

Thank you to all in Whitehall!   

—Submitted by Ali Hale, Community Ambassador, Whitehall PA MISSION BBQ

Whitehall PA 1 Year Pics

© MISSION BBQ 2016