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From The Daily Press (November 2006)

The sauce became so popular that a Marine sergeant sent an e-mail requesting it by Friday
By Kim O'Brien Root

The Marines are going to get their barbecue sauce.

Four gallons of Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que sauce might not make it in time for a Marine Corps birthday barbecue on Friday, but the yellow-and-orange-labeled sauce is on its way to Al Asad, Iraq, nonetheless.

"Hopefully, it will get there in one piece," said J.C. Pierce, who owns the York County barbecue restaurant and Virginia landmark.

Pierce's received an e-mail request last week from a group of Camp Pendleton-based Marines stationed in Iraq. A former member of their unit was from Newport News and pulled out the sauce at a recent barbecue. The Marines were hooked.

The guys of Combat Logistics Battalion 1 liked the sauce so much that Sgt. Wesley C. Brown wrote to the restaurant and asked if they could possibly get some more sent to them. He hoped to have it in time for the Corp's 231st birthday on Friday.

"The sauce has a sweet kick to it," wrote Brown, a 29 year-old from Phoenix, in an e-mail. "It is by far the best sauce I've had!"

Pierce's responded with gusto.

Andrea Hutchinson, the restaurant's director of operations, spent several days tracking down the correct address at the air base. Monday, the sauce - repackaged in heavy-duty plastic containers - was shipped through the post office en route to Iraq.

"If we can do something to make them feel more comfortable, it's worth it," Pierce said Monday. " We're definitely very proud to do this for them."

The 35-year-old restaurant's act of goodwill might not stop there.

Pierce said he's had other people inquiring about whether they can get sauce sent to a service-member overseas. The popular sauce will also be included in baskets of food the restaurant will be distributing to 11 families they've adopted through Habitat for Humanity for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

In Iraq, though, Brown said a simple thing like a barbecue can really boost morale and help time go by more quickly.

"Every once in a while, the Marines and some of the civilian contractors will get together to have a little BBQ - those are the best times." e-mailed Brown, who added that one civilian contractor working with the unit, Eric Whitehead of Norfolk, has eaten at Pierce's.

"BBQs relieve a lot of stress, homesickness, boredom and hunger (of course) so when we have steaks, chicken or ribs dipped in some outstanding sauce" he continued, "it makes this deployment that much bearable."

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Doc, Verdie and three original staff members
Dee, Dottie and Maw Hall.

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