With 200 bratwursts, 400 pieces of chicken and 15 locally grown watermelons in tow, Joshua Paticha headed Thursday morning to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island to show Corps brass he means business.
Paticha, 32, the owner of Beaufort eatery Bricks on Boundary, enlisted the help ofhis staff and three Marines to host a cookout at Elliot's Beach for the 175 troops of the depot's Service Company. The Marines of Service Company assist in various aspects of recruit training, such as clothing supply and issuing gear to recruits at the depotParris Island Marines went on holiday leave at noon Thursday and will return to base on Tuesday.
For Paticha, the cookout served not only as a chance to give back to Beaufort's Marines -- a demographic he says makes up a large share of his year-old restaurant's clientele -- but as something of an audition. Paticha has petitioned the Marine Corps to allow him to travel to Afghanistan later this year or early 2010 to cook for the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Marines stationed abroad.
"A big chunk of my client base deployed to Afghanistan last year, and I was thinking that I'd love to do something for them," he said. "Our military personnel are great customers of mine and are really the basis of my business. So I came up with the idea to travel to Afghanistan to cook for those guys.
"While I was working with the Marine Corps on that, I decided that we could do something for our local bases," Paticha said.
Capt. Michael Toth, a Bricks regular and commanding officer of Service Company, said he knew of Paticha's desire to cook for deployed Marines but suggested he start a little closer to home.
"I figured that while he built up for that deployment, we've got a depot full of hungry Marines here that he could cook for," Toth said.
Gunnery Sgt. Tim Petak said Thursday's cookout was a refreshing change for he and his fellow Marines.
"Service Company is a family, and I don't believe we do enough of this stuff because of the up-tempo pace of life at Parris Island," Petak said. "So it's great to get together like this and have a great time as a tight-knit family.
"When you see (Bricks on Boundary) doing events like this, you know they're not doing it for their own benefit; they're doing it because they love Marines."
Paticha said he hopes Marine Corps officials take note of Thursday's event and take to heart his request to visit with and cook for Marines in Afghanistan.
"I really just want to show the Marine Corps and our local bases that I'm serious about doing this," he said. "I'll do fundraisers and whatever I need to do to go over there for those guys."