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BBQ chef walks to honor vets
POULSBO — With an American flag and a shotgun slung across his back, Pat Momany spent Wednesday walking around Poulsbo.
Around, and around five more times, making a 21-mile march a statement for Veterans Day.
“I’m trying to get people’s attention,” said Momany, who lives in Sandy Hook. “A lot of people say they care about them, but nobody does anything.”
Momany said he was doing something to show the gravity of the occasion, a little discomfort on a holiday some observe by sleeping in late.
Momany, owner of TaTu BBQ in Kingston, has done more than most.
Three times he has flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and served soldiers from wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan his brand of gourmet Texas barbecue.
He’s planning another trip soon to give the troops a taste of home, this time arriving Dec. 7, the 68th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
And the shotgun?
“If it wasn’t for the military I couldn’t do this. I do it because I have a right to do it.”
Momany is a Navy vet, four years, served as a cook in Rota, Spain.
He also spent formative years in Landstuhl. His father, a soldier in the Army, was stationed there, and met Momany’s mother, a German.
He has a list of three reasons for the trips, mostly paid for out of pocket, with help from local businesses like Costco, Busby’s Burgers and Q, Hot Shots Java and Voodiez Bar and Grill.
One, he’s good at it. Two, it helps the troops with homesickness. Third, and perhaps most importantly, Momany said the happier a person is the quicker they will recover.
He got a lot of support Wednesday from passers-by.
“Lots of honking, lots of waving,” he said.
He stopped by Busby’s for a restroom break, a cookie and some words of support.
Molly Gose-Busby, co-owner of Busby’s Burgers, called the trek “awesome.”
The two restaurants have joined forces in the past to raise money to bring barbecue to the wounded soldiers in Germany, and are planning to expand Barbecues Unite.
Meanwhile, Momany might be feeling some pain in the morning.
“He’s going to be hurting puppy tomorrow,” she said.
As for Momany, who near the end freely admitted he was looking forward to a cold beer and a hot jacuzzi bath, said any discomfort he feels shrinks compared to what wounded troops face.
“It doesn’t hurt as much as the guys without arms in a hospital bed,” he said. “If people could see them, they wouldn’t take it so lightly.”