More than 200 veterans to be honored at BBQ fest

Posted at 6:59 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 19:59:02-04

The annual Bixby BBQ'n Blues Festival is now the largest BBQ festival in the state of Oklahoma and is also known for helping community members get involved and back on track.

Solider's Wish, the organization that helps raise funds to help honor and support veterans and active-duty military men and women, made the event for the third year and will host hundreds of people at this year's festival.

More than 200 veterans and active-duty military will receive free food and music as well as have the opportunity to speak with community members about ways to better serve military men and women who have had a difficult time adjusting after their service.

Army veteran and volunteer, Mark Ochsenbein, served for over 20 years and quit his job in order to make more time to help the struggling veterans and their families. 

Ochsenbien says after running into the Solider's Wish organization at other military events he knew he could help make a difference for his fellow veterans.

“So I gave up my job as the Dean of Students at the university after being there for 15 years and I came with them on Aug. 1, and I'm excited. We're out there helping the men and women of all of our services who are in need,” Ochsenbien said.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, roughly 11 percent of the adult homeless population are former service men and women.

Organizations like Solider's Wish hope to help lead the charge in providing more opportunities for veterans regardless of the time served.

“It's events like this, knowing they can call us and come with us. There's a lot of organizations. If we don't think we can help them we are going to find somebody that can,” Ochsenbien said. 

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