Rib Fest to assist injured local soldier

Attendees of this year's sixth annual Rib Fest at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2326, 20 N. First St., will be helping out a soldier with Grand Haven roots. A portion of the proceeds raised at this year's festival, set for Friday and Saturday, will go toward the costs associated with a new service dog for U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Regis. "I am going to use this dog to help other soldiers that are at Fort Sam Houston and Walter Reed (hospital),' Regis said. "I would also like to get more soldiers involved in VFW.'
Alex Doty
May 24, 2011

Regis, a former Grand Haven resident, successfully completed a tour of duty in Iraq, followed by a tour in Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, Regis received a Purple Heart as a result of injuries sustained during combat.

“He took a direct hit by about 600 pounds of an (improvised explosive device),” said Sam Young, commander of the Grand Haven VFW post.

Regis said that even with getting the service dog, the road to recovery still will have its trials.

“There are many challenges, (like) just really not knowing how much better my back is going to get,” he said. “I am optimistic for more recovery and there are invisible injuries I also have, too — which causes severe headaches and twitches in my left eye. I just hope that these injuries will not keep me from being able to play with my sons.”

Regis said he is appreciative of all of the people that have helped him along his road to recovery.

“There have been many people that will go out of their way to help me — and there are so many of them, it would be hard to list them all,” he said. “The Army has lived up to their end, but only with me really pushing them.”

Through all of his situations, Regis said he always knows where home is.

“I love Grand Haven and will always call it my home,” he said. “In all of my travels, I always picture the woods and the beach out by Kirk Park. It is so beautiful and the people are the greatest.”

Rib Fest organizers will have the block of First Street closed from Columbus Avenue to Washington Avenue to accommodate the two-day event. It will include a variety of rib vendors competing for top prizes on who can create the best slab of ribs — plus a silent auction, live music and other entertainment.

“This is our sixth annual festival and it has grown every year,” Young said.

Young said there were as many as 10,000 people last year, and about 6,000 pounds of ribs were consumed.

“It’s a great kickoff to summer activity,” he said.

In addition to proceeds going to benefit Regis’ service dog, money will be going toward the VFW Ward-Goff Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Schedule of Events:

Friday
3 p.m.: Bar opens
5-7 p.m.: Food is available
7:30-11:30 p.m.: Live music by AZZ IZZ

Saturday
10 a.m.: Bar opens
11 a.m.: Food available
2-6 p.m.: Live music by Hy’ Ryd’r
7:30-11:30 p.m.: Live music by Soul’d Out

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