Hardin County Jailer Josh Lindblom invited Barry Howard to the detention center Wednesday under the guise that he would be speaking to some inmates.
Not a public speaker, Howard said he’d been nervous about his talk with the inmates.
He said he sat down Wednesday after Barry’s Mission delivered food within the community, to write down what he was going to say prior to heading to the jail.
“And I was still scared. In fact, I just sat out there in the parking lot ... scared to come in,” he said, laughing.
Fortunately for Howard, Lindblom, along with Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory, Ronnie Goodman, Deputy Judge-Executive Daniel London, Sheriff John Ward and Doris Goldsmith had other intentions for his visit.
Instead of having to endure public speaking, they surprised Howard with a custom-made grill.
Lindblom said the idea was initiated by Goldsmith, who reached out to him about doing something for Howard who, for years, has voluntarily given back to the local community.
“Barry is an awesome guy. His mission is nothing but greatness, and I want him to continue to do it with ease,” she said.
“He’s always helping everybody else,” Lindblom said.
After Goldsmith approached Lindblom with the idea, Lindblom said he reached out to friends, Gregory, Ward and London, and they pulled together money for the grill, which was made by Goodman.
Howard said he had a few small grills at his home he used, but for bigger events, he would borrow a grill from a friend. Looking at the grill presented to him, he said he’s set now.
“This is awesome,” he said.
Gregory, who has known Howard for about 30 years, said Howard does a ton of work for everyone else and asks nothing in return, and for them to be able to do something small like this for him is very rewarding.
“I thought it was a wonderful idea because of the blessings he bestows upon the community are never ending. For us to be able to bless him with something he can continue to bless the community with is a win-win situation for everybody,” he said.