Ending 2020 in Gratitude

Happy December 28, or as it feels, March 303.

When I got word that Hinton would be activating its Emergency Operations Centre in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, I was in the Northlands Exhibition Hall, getting ready for the best part of working for the Town of Hinton – repping the Town at trade shows. We usually see thousands of people over the weekend, so you can tell where our heads were at at the time.

At that moment, Big Bird BBQ was at most a pipe dream, an idea for 2 or 3 years down the road.

Of course, at that moment I also thought I was about to go on a tropical cruise with Amanda. The border was closed almost the same day as our cruise would have left.

Time has sort of stopped behaving like it once did since then. Every priority changed. Over the coming weeks, as I and the rest of the Town of Hinton put into work emergency plans and training and experiences from across our careers and backgrounds to understand, prepare and respond, I witnessed dedication and leadership from my colleagues that I cannot even begin to express. But even in that moment, being involved in a crisis and called upon in any potential scale, I also witnessed something else in myself: the knowledge that there really isn’t a tomorrow anymore, not in the infinite infantile way I always saw it. That there isn’t time to wait and hold and prepare, and that calamity awaits every corner, so now is the only moment to make a move.

I understood, at last, that this was the time for me to live for my little bit of art, and to exist for my dream and passions.

We started really working in August, and now as the year ends, we’re… like… real? A funded corporation with a trailer in the early stages of manufacturing to our specs.

I have a short window left at the Town, handing over as much experience, planning, and training as I can, and then, as the calendar reads February, I’ll be at this full time. And not long after, we’re going to be out there, serving a community I’ve come to love and call home.

There’s no small number of people who deserve acknowledgements here as we wrap the year and get ready to move into a new one, and if i miss you, i am so sorry. I promise, you mean the world to me.

  • Amanda, for every reason
  • Marc and Jax Delisle, who were amongst the first to take me and my cooking seriously here in Hinton, and who have been our closest Hinton Homies as long as I’ve known Hinton as Home.
  • Rob Mackin and Matthew Young, who put theory into praxis when you helped us get our home, you gave us the stability to talk about dreams, and that is priceless.
  • Town of Hinton staff who I’ve had the honour of working alongside; I have never witnessed so much dedication and strength of character as I have working here. In particular, to Emily Olsen, who’s leadership I have been privledged to look to since day one; to Heather Waye, who joined the staff as I did and would go on to become the Strategic Services Manager, I will watch your career with great interest; to Nikiea Hope, the anti-Toby, and to Scott Kovatch, the most recent to join our team but who immediately challenged and empowered… The Town is lucky to be served by you. I see you all.
  • Matt, Sarah, Buchanan, and Bre, this happened because each of you believed and contributed in your own way. Your my people, and we’re about to do some real cool things.
  • Afton Sitar at ATB, who took the very first meeting and has ran alongside us every step of the way and into the future, we are privileged to have you as our banking team.
  • Sam and Nikki and everything we have ahead of us
  • Jenna and Kean, who I cannot stop thanking for trusting us with their special day
  • My poker and games night crews over the years who may or may not have known they were being recipe tested on
  • The best potluck group in the world, I miss you dearly
  • Allan Bearns and campfire conversations
  • The Aldens and their unending energy
  • Sarah, Jason, and Food on a Stick, a moment that still means the world to me
  • The Gurr Family of Camrose and the entire Camrose BP’s Team circa 2011, if I could relive a summer it would be with you all
  • TK Ranch and the Fort Saskatchewan High School Commercial Foods program, the moment I knew this was what I wanted to do
  • Ramone Thompson, who taught me more about being a chef than he will ever fully know
  • And to everyone who deserved to be on this list

2020 has taught me so much, and all of you and more helped make this dream become real. I am exceptionally privileged to leave 2020 hopeful for the future, and excited to share with Hinton and the West Yellowhead the love you have all shown me.

Keeping moving forward, my friends, and we’ll see each other soon.

Pitmaster Joshua Yaworski

2 responses to “Ending 2020 in Gratitude”

  1. Well said Josh. A belated merry Christmas to you and Amanda and wish you much happiness and success in your new adventure in 2021.

    Sent from my iPad



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