It was a year of sheer delight and sometimes happy tears. Of WWII Vets reconnecting, and collecting funds donated by generous customers. We’ve made friends with Uniformed Heroes who protect, serve and save Our Community. And welcomed regulars from all walks of life and every age, including families with newborns and great grandparents pushing 100.
Among the many highlights: Hosting a Kensmen reunion (www.kensmen.com) from the 43rd Bomb Group — still “Willing, Able and Ready” as they were back in WWII. There are many Veterans from the greatest generation in our area and we were honored to serve them all year. Especially on Pearl Harbor Day when eight of them visited us, sparking a monthly series of small group lunches for Veterans from all branches. Helping such great people connect in a place where they are appreciated is truly rewarding. And sometimes Magical Moments happen, such as during a lunch for WWII Army Air Corps Veterans. After our daily noon salute to the National Anthem, we honored Mr. Salvatore Cascio for his service, thanking him by name. Shortly afterward, a customer asked me to repeat the name and said “I think we might be related.” They were, although neither knew the other one existed and lived just a few blocks apart. Extraordinary!
As with all MISSION BBQ locations, we are privileged to share mementos on our walls given to us by Heroes and their families. Here, you’ll find authentic artifacts, flight jackets, and helmets, along with many touching photos. Customers often come in to have “dinner with a family member” memorialized in a frame above them. We’re also privileged to take part in special moments, such as when a brother surprised his sister by secretly placing a picture of their Navy father for her to discover. The look on her face and genuine emotion she felt was priceless. (See photos below)
Giving back is part of Our Mission as well. With the generous help of all our customers who bought American Heroes Cups at every MISSION BBQ, we were humbled to present a check for $228,664 to Wreaths Across America. Whether participating in fundraisers, joining in during Torch Run races benefitting Howard County police, feeding our local volunteer firefighters and more, it is our honor to help however we can. Just 19 days after opening, in fact, a devastating flood hit the area — so it was important to support First Responders during their search and rescue, feeding displaced residents and assisting in cleanup efforts.
Overall, it was no ordinary year. Through extra effort, dedication and hard work from all our Teammates — all in an exceptionally welcoming community — it was extraordinary. Thank you Ellicott City!
Presented by Kim McGill Community Ambassador MISSION BBQ - Ellicott City