About once a month, Western Kentucky University students’ walk to class is interrupted from its usual serenity with a loud cry from halfway across campus:
“PORK CHOP!!! GET YOUR PORK CHOPS!!!”
In between classes, Block & Bridle members help grill our famous porkchops.
The freshmen are usually shocked and confused by the spectacle taking place in front of the Environmental Sciences and Technology building.
Most can’t help but stare at the 10-15 students gathered around a bright red grill flipping pork chops, wrapping sandwiches and hurrying to keep up with the ever growing line of upperclassmen who figured out what all this hype was about long ago.
WKU Block & Bridle has long been known for their famous pork chop sandwiches.
Current members often tell stories about their parents working pork chops sales, using the same “secret” marinade that has been passed down through the club for over 30 years.
During this time, pork chop sales have been the main fundraiser for WKU Block & Bridle.
Over 400 "Pork is Safe" flyers were inserted into bags during our two day sale.
In April 2009, Block & Bridle members began to worry about the future of our fundraising.
Overnight, the news media was talking about nothing but the so called “swine flu” that we now know as the H1N1 virus.
Pork prices fell. The media continued to use the improper name for H1N1 and consumers continued to lose faith in the safety of American pork products.
When it came time to plan September pork chop sales, Block & Bridle members tried to be optimistic.
Our optimism was forgotten when our campus newspaper, the College Heights Herald, ran an editorial with such outrageous comments as:
“Just when you thought you were safe from avian flu and SARS, along come the pigs to ratchet up your paranoia.”
Needless to say, Block & Bridle members knew we needed to act fast spread the truth about H1N1 instead of the lies being published in the Herald.
I developed a flyer of “pork is safe” facts to insert into every bag lunch we sold.
Members engaged customers in discussions about what cut of pork we used (boneless loins), what the proper cooking temperature of pork was (160 degrees), and what Block & Bridle was all about.
In two days, WKU Block & Bridle members sold over 400 pork chop sandwiches and distributed just as many flyers.
Hopefully, the WKU community left our pork chop sale with more than just a lunch. Hopefully, they learned that pork is safe. Hopefully they now call the virus H1N1.
More than anything, I hope they left with a new found faith in the hardworking farmers who work everyday to produce our food products.