Volunteers keep first-responders fed

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – With hundreds of firefighters coming in to battle the Highlands fire this week, it takes a special crew to watch over their well-being.

“They were pretty bedraggled, they’d been at it. It’s hard work, fighting these fires,” Red Cross volunteer Douglas Lloyd said.

Lloyd, a Newton resident, is one of the Red Cross volunteers who helps operate an “ERV” or Emergency Response Vehicle; a Red Cross truck loaded down with food and beverages, delivered everywhere from the front lines to incident management headquarters.

Wednesday afternoon, Lloyd and other volunteers delivered pulled pork sandwiches made by Operation Barbecue Relief to first-responders. The ERV was packed down with Gatorades to help replenish fluids of the hard-working firefighters.

“Barbecue is comfort food and it is impossible to describe the value of a hot, nutritious meal to someone who has lost everything they own unless you witness it yourself,” Greg Powers with Operation Barbecue Relief said.

Operation Barbecue Relief is a collection of competition barbecue cooks, chefs and caterers who came together in response to the May 2011 Joplin tornado. They have deployed to 21 states and served over a million meals.

“It helps us out a lot because we’re not familiar with the area and it’s either our expense or the department’s expense to go get ourselves fed,” firefighter Allen Pheiffer said.

Lloyd noted, he enjoys seeing how the community comes together following disaster.

Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.