Eagle man cooks for local troops | VailDaily.com

Eagle man cooks for local troops

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Lauren Glendenning/Vail DailyMen and women at the High Altitude Army Aviation Training Site in Gypsum feast on a home-cooked meal Friday. A retired Eagle couple, John and Pat Cook, prepared the meal with neighbors to thank local troops for their service to the country.

GYPSUM – The men and women training at Gypsum’s High Altitude Army Aviation Training Site got one of the best displays of appreciation they’ve ever received Friday – a home-cooked, Texas-style barbecue meal.

John and Pat Cook, of Eagle Ranch, gathered together some neighbors to go in on beef brisket, chicken and sausages to cook for the local troops. They chipped in on making cheesy potatoes, pork-green-chile-smothered corn and baked beans as a way to say thank you to the U.S. military for their service to the country.

The 40 or so men and women who enjoyed the meal were just as grateful for the gesture as the Cooks are for their service.

Mark Grayson, who has worked at the High Altitude Army Aviation Training Site for five years, said this is the first time anyone has ever done anything like this for the soldiers.

“This is really nice,” Grayson said. “These folks have gone way above and beyond any show of appreciation.”

The Cooks feel like the meal was the least they could do for the people who risk their lives in the name of freedom, the couple said.

“We just wanted to say thank you,” Pat Cook said. “They’re putting their lives on the line. I really wish more could be done just for them to know they’re appreciated.”

The thank you’s go a long way for the men and women who train, day in and day out, in preparation for deployment. Several of the active duty military training at the site are preparing to go to Afghanistan in the fall, and many have only just come back from previous deployments.

Maj. Tony Somogyi, an executive officer with the High Altitude Army Aviation Training Site, said the crew doesn’t expect anything, which is why it makes the gesture even more special.

“We didn’t sign up (for the military) for the free benefits,” Somogyi said. “This was so nice of them.”

John Cook is no amateur when it comes to barbecue, either. The Cooks moved to Eagle from Fort Worth, Texas, about 10 years ago and John Cook got a smoker – he’s been working on the art of perfect Texas barbecue ever since. He towed his smoker to the Training Site Friday and made sure to give the troops the full effect of real Texas barbecue, he said, with the smell permeating through the helicopter hanger where everyone ate.

“They’re preserving freedom and risking their lives for us,” John Cook said. “It feels good to be able to bring them a little relief on their burden.”

The Cooks, along with their neighbors Rob Riddle, Dale Aden, John Baty, and Kris and Sven Hutchinson, stood back as they happily watched the service men and women go for seconds and thirds.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

Support Local Journalism