Just got news from the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association that Mike McCrea of Big Mike's BBQ, at 8751 Pearl Street in Thornton, died on Tuesday night. McCrea had been injured in a flash-over from a propane tank in late September and spent that Friday night in an ER in Grand Junction, refusing to be flown to the burn unit in Denver. Why? Because he had a barbecue competition in GJ on Saturday, and he didn't want to leave his team a man down.
Yeah, you read that right: Second- and third-degree burns to the arms, face and hands, but McCrea had work to do. He and his team made all four turn-ins for the competition, according to the BBQ guys, finished out the vending operation, and only then -- once all the work was done-- did he check himself in to University Hospital in Denver, where he was immediately put in the ICU that Sunday.
He seemed to be improving through the week, and even was released. But he started feeling poorly again and went back to the hospital -- where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and passed away this Tuesday night.
This is how hard the guys who make your dinner for you work. This is what cooks do. Though I never knew McCrea, I feel poorer for never having gotten to know him. And sad that the world is now down one pit man plainly dedicated to his craft.
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Rest in peace, Mike.