Williams Lake children and families have benefitted for 20 years from the dedication, hard work and generosity of people like local resident and Tolko employee Dale Martin.
He does Saturday barbecue pig roasts for special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, reunions, birthdays and retirement parties and donates all proceeds to local kids’ charities and organizations.
Martin arrives in the morning of an event with a large propane rotisserie meat roaster on a trailer.
Sometimes helped at these events by friend and Tolko co-worker Dave Sulymka, he said he picks up the pig, usually purchased from Save on Foods or Margett’s Meats and brings it with him.
“We can also do beef, and can roast potatoes and corn and sometimes my wife Gloria makes salads,” he explained.
“This all started years ago when my former foreman at Lignum’s, Sal Demare thought it would be great to have a pig roast for our Ten Year Club at our company fishing derby at Timothy Lake.
We used to burn fir bark to roast the meat—pile it up and light it with a tiger torch. We did it about 15 years like that, with the spit being turned by an electric motor,” he continued.
“People got word of the pig roasts we did and we started getting asked to do events for other people.
“We also volunteer for the seniors draft horse ride every year—making free lunches for everybody. Beamac donates the food for this fun event, and everyone looks forward to it.”
All of the proceeds that Martin makes doing the roasts are donated at Christmas time to kids’ programs and projects, including the Child Development Centre, Pregnancy Outreach Program, Tim Hortons’ Camp, the Salvation Army, Big Brothers and Sisters, the Brain Injury Society and to the Cariboo Memorial Hospital for a heart monitor.
“Everybody wants to come and see the pig turning and cooking at these events,” he said. “The smell is divine; Gloria pokes holes in the meat and inserts rosemary, thyme and garlic.”
He said that he cooks, carves and serves the meat. “People love to watch him carve the pig with cleavers, and a crowd gathers when he hands out the ‘candy,’ or the crispy skin,” Gloria added.
Martin said he took Food Safe in order to do the roasts, adding that he doesn’t cook at all, other than at his barbecues.
“I check the meat throughout the day using my thermometers. It takes seven hours to cook an 80 to 100 pound pig, although it’s closer to 12 hours with all the hauling, setting up and cleaning up,” he explained.
“I love meeting so many people,” he said. “We just wanted to help some kids and give something to the community.”