Third Annual BBQ Connects a Community

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Hundreds attended the 3rd annual Burlington Barbecue Thursday, eager for food, fun, and forming bonds with local law enforcement.

“We went through about 800 hamburgers and buns in seconds, it seemed like, I’m sticking to that, it was seconds,” says Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo.  

del Pozo says this year’s barbecue is his first, since taking on the role as Chief.  This is also a new location for the event.

“We decided to bring it to the citizens, now we’re going to come to you, so we moved it from headquarters to North Street and this is where we get a lot of our calls,” says del Pozo.  “We had a shooting just a few blocks away last year.”

Like del Pozo, this was Michael Van Gulden’s first Burlington Barbecue too, with his daughter, Josie.  He says getting to know those who keep his family safe is a privilege.

“Police officers really opened up their world, explained the different aspects of their vehicles, we saw riot gear,” says Van Gulden of Burlington.  “It’s a very vibrant, active part of the community that is sometimes overlooked until you actually need them, then some people wonder where are they, why aren’t they here now?”

For Amanda McGaan and her son, Gideon Thomas,  spending time together and connecting to those who protect them everyday was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

“Specifically as a multi-ethnic family, it’s a real gift to us to get to interact with our community in this way, there’s one less step between us if the hard things happen,” says McGaan of Winooski.

del Pozo says 30 of his officers were at Thursday’s barbecue.

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