Shortly after a tornado ripped through the town of Moore, OK, the senior staff of Hard Eight BBQ in Coppell and Stephenville made a decision to become involved.
In Coppell, the restaurant’s management invited their staff, vendors and the community to help them ready food and supplies to be taken directly to those affected by the storm’s devastation. At 8 a.m. on May 22, a 30 ft catering trailer, two vans and a trailer filled with food, bottled water, supplies and highly trained barbeque specialists left for Moore.
“We are going to go where the destruction is the worst,” said David Blair, Hard Eight BBQ’s district manager. “The reports I am getting from the people who have a restaurant background and are up there serving people is that the situation is worse than what the media has visualized on TV and radio.
“When I was a child in times of distress and times of love, there was food involved. If people have nothing, at least what humanity can do is go up there and feed them, and give them something to wash their face with. More aid will come eventually. But right now, it is so early in this deal that just eating is a problem. We feed hundreds of people a day, so it makes perfect sense for us to go up there and take care of them.
“Texas is big and we do things big. We only had one day, and we got on the horn and started rallying the troops. Our vendors like Sysco, Ben E. Keith, Tyson Food all jumped in and gave us products that were quick to fix and delicious. I think everybody is sick to death about this destructive weather, and they don’t want this to come around again for a long time. Everybody wants to do their part to help somebody out, that is how true Texans are. We hope for bluer skies.”
People helping people is an important tradition for the Hard Eight staff.
“What has happened up there is beyond imagination,” said Chad Decker, Hard Eight BBQ’s owner. “I am not even prepared for what we are fixing to see.
“We are taking everything with us. We have all the food, cooking utensils, everything. We are self-contained and ready to go. We have enough food to feed anywhere from 1300 to 1500 people. We are hoping to get up there and come back within a couple of days.
“Everybody has been phenomenal. We are one big family here at Hard Eight. We take care of one another, and we take care of other people. That is just what we do. I have a great staff from top to bottom.
“People from the community have been unbelievable. They came all day yesterday. We have two vans and a trailer full of stuff. They donated so much bottled water that we don’t have room to carry a lot of it this time, but we will take it up on the next trip.
“Help out where you can. A little is a lot to people who don’t have anything.”
Even in the worst of times, a friendly face, warm meal and the knowledge that people care can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
“Our daily operations are not as important as helping out people in need,” said Scott Russell, Hard Eight BBQ’s store manager. “The response from the staff and the community has been overwhelming. Everyone wanted to pitch in and do what they could for people affected directly by the disaster.
“Hopefully a home cooked, hot meal will help ease some of the stress of today.”
One of many community members who participated in Hard Eight’s mission, Wendi Cummings arrived early Wednesday morning to donate goods to the people of Moore.
“Once people found that Hard Eight was taking out trucks to Moore, they knew they could bring items here instead of making the trek themselves,” Cummings said. “That gave them the ability to free up some time and be with their families, and be here during the storms last night and today. It also gives us the ability to support our own city and our town.”