“We all rise with the tide of our friendly association with one another” — Barry Martin
I thought long and hard about the words you just read. And I mean exactly what I wrote. Barry Martin is a freak. The word “freak” can mean lots of different things to different people. A “freak,” in my book, is a person who has something strikingly unusual about their appearance or behavior.
“Barry is an incredible human being – he creates ease and comfort where ever he goes – if some people are the icing on the cake Barry is the sprinkles.” — Christo
Barry is, in fact, one of the tallest people I know but it isn’t his freakish heigth that makes him a freak. It is his behavior. It’s how he conducts every aspect of his life that makes him a giant of a man to every person he comes in contact with. I know lots of people who have a personal philosophy they live their lives by, but I don’t know of anyone that lives their philosophy like Barry does.
I first met Barry Martin in May 2010 when he invited me work with him at the Memphis In May World Barbecue Championship. Over the years I’ve had the chance to work with a lot of people who represent products and manufacturers. And no one has ever left the impression on me that Barry did. All Barry wanted to do, when we spoke, was talk about me. What were my goals? What was important to me? How is your family? It got the point I was starting to think he wasn’t real. Weren’t we supposed to talk about the work we were going to do for the grill company that was Barry’s client? All he wanted to talk about what me.
“His philosophy of helping carries over into his business. Barry subscribes to the system of coöperation and cross-promotion among his colleagues and contemporaries that raises interest and engagement of readers which in the end causes “all boats to rise,” with the flood of new people interested in cooking no matter the genre.” — Laura Dark
The Memphis In May experience was my first exposure to Barry’s “all boats rise” way of life. The term “all boats rise” is often attributed to a 1963 speech by President John F. Kennedy. Since then it has been used by a multitude of political figures to justify all types of government programs, tax increases and other political ideas. It’s really a shame they can’t understand what it really means to cause all boats to rise together. What it takes is really caring about others.
As Barry and I work on projects together as “Guys In Aprons” and “Dads In Aprons” Barry’s PR/Marketing background sometimes clashes with my “sales” background as is likely to happen in the “real world” where marketing people think they know what a sales professional needs, while sales professionals know how self-important they are. I’m always asking Barry “what does success look like.” I’ve come to realize that Barry defines success by how successful the other guy is…not how successful he is.
“Barry is a giant in the outdoor cooking world. No really, have you seen him? When he stands next to me at the grill, I feel like I’m under a tent.
All kidding aside, Barry is one of the most genuine and giving people out there. He’s who I would want next to me if a boat were sinking, a house were on fire…he’s that kind of guy. Luckily, all the fires we’ve been involved with were just the coals getting hot. He’s an excellent cook, but so much more. He truly cares about teaching others and making sure they succeed.”–Julie Reinhardt
“Has anyone ever told you that you think way too much?” I’ve asked Barry that question a couple of times over the years. Whenever I’ve asked it, I’ve already known the answer. Yes, lots of people have told Barry over the years that he thinks to much. Barry is an over-thinker. I once had an email “conversation” with Barry about MOINK Balls. Barry was making MOINK Balls for an event that benefited some of the crews of fishing vessels who home port in the Seattle when they aren’t catching crabs in the Bering Sea. Most people would have been happy to raise money for a good cause, but not Barry Martin he also kept looking for a way to help me because he was cooking MOINK Balls. This is who Barry Martin is.
“Barry is one of the kindest and most selfless people I’ve ever known. His desire to help others is enormous and he always puts assisting others above his needs. He never has a whats-in-it-for-me agenda, and has faith that his kindness will make the world a better place. — Laura
I used to think that Barry was nice to a fault. Over the years I have come to realize it’s not a fault at all, it’s a strength. Being nice to others is something we should all strive to be better at. There are few people in life I would suggest we model our lives after, actually, there are probably none. But if there was one person who comes the closest it’s Barry.
So, as I begin this new series on Embers and Flame about the Unsung Heroes of BBQ I believe it’s fitting that the first person to makes the list is someone who has taught me over the years that it’s better to make everyone else a hero than it is to try to make yourself one. Without Barry Martin I would not be as successful as I am.
Editor’s Note: Do you know someone in the BBQ/Grilling business that does more for others than they do for themselves? If you do let me know about them with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. As great as moms and dads are this is not for “my dad makes the best chicken.” Do you know a pitmaster, chef, writer or someone else who enriches the lives of everyone they come in contact with? That’s who I want to know about.