Cooking with purpose - St. Peter parishioner shares blessings by preparing community meals

North Texas Catholic
(May 25, 2023) Local

gLENN Block with grill and brisket

Tic Block shows off some brisket made on his custom smoker. Now retired, Block spends much of his time cooking for the parish, community, and charities. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

LINDSAY — "Lord, if you want me to keep cooking, send me the wood, because I don’t know what to do. I cannot afford to buy it. We’re broke.”

St. Peter parishioner Glenn “Tic” Block said this prayer almost 20 years ago when he felt God’s call to cook food for community events in Lindsay. 

Since he said this prayer, the Catholic husband and father of four says God always provides the wood he needs for cooking. Block now provides food service for countless fundraisers and benefits across Cooke County and nearby parishes in the diocese.

“It makes me feel like I should keep doing it,” he said. “This is what I’m called to do.”

Block began volunteering as a cook for fundraisers after a friend was severely injured in a car accident in the early 1990s. The community held a benefit for him, which sparked Block’s interest in giving back.

“They were so generous. So, I thought, ‘Whoa, we need to do something like that!’” he said.

Following this inspiration, he began his cooking journey. He first prepared meat for events, then eventually cooked full meals. Ladies in the community provided him with recipes and tips for beans, sauerkraut, and German potato salad.

Block’s largest endeavor came during his career at Peterbilt Motors Company in Denton. He volunteered to cook the company picnic, seeking the challenge and learning experience of making a meal for 2,700. He began cooking at 1 a.m. and opened the serving line ten hours later. The meal was a success, but “no guy in his right mind would do it,” said Block.

On the other hand, cooking for 400 has become as simple as a couple of phone calls, he quipped.

He retired in 2020 at age 54 to volunteer full time. He’s converted a 1,000-square-foot work shed into his “cook hut,” which he lined with the original wood flooring installed in St. Peter Church in 1903. He’s also built a 1,200-square-foot “cook shack” to prepare spaghetti or casseroles, and his 16-foot smoker can cook up to 1,200 pounds of beef or pork. 

One of his most meaningful fundraisers was helping a parish family pay for cochlear implants for their deaf son. Block expected 600 people to attend and hoped to raise $20,000 toward the surgery, which costs about $70,000 per ear. 

About 850 people from Lindsay and nearby Muenster came, creating a modern “loaves and fishes” experience. The event raised $140,000 — seven times the expected amount — said Block, who “still gets goosebumps” thinking about it.

When the North Texas Catholic caught up with Block, he was prepping 330 pounds of brisket for a fire department fundraiser. Brisket is the crowd favorite, he explained, but pulled pork is the easiest.

In addition to cooking for fundraisers, he donates time to woodworking and carpentry, making wheelchair ramps for the disabled and elderly. He also welds, gardens, and helps maintain the Lindsay German Founders Park and church cemetery. He has served as the Grand Knight in the Knights of Columbus. 

Block used his skills in carpentry and metal working to build an enormous outdoor smoker. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

As a lifelong member of St. Peter Parish, he said, “If you want to know Christ, there’s no better way than the Catholic Church.” The sacraments, saints, and devotions all offer opportunities to draw closer to God, Block said.

Father Matthew Tatyrek, former pastor of St. Peter Parish, nominated Block for the diocesan Light of Christ Award last year for his years of Christian stewardship.

“Tic is an outstanding example of what it means to serve Christ by serving his neighbor,” Fr. Tatyrek, now pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Denton, said.

“During my four years as pastor of St. Peter, Tic always availed himself of whatever I asked of him.”

Block’s wife, Sonya, who works as secretary for St. Peter Parish, said her husband’s service is a “labor of love,” and requires sacrifice.

“Even though he is retired, he works all the time,” she said. “It is a sacrifice, but he enjoys a lot of it so much.

“He has a big heart and wants to help people,” Sonya continued. “He knows he can do things. He does not let things stop him, and he is not afraid to work.”

Sonya also said her four grown children are the same way due to her husband’s example.
“After Knights of Columbus events, we stayed and cleaned. Our kids were like, ‘Why do we always have to be the last one to leave?’” she said. “They all help and volunteer now.”

St. Peter Parish business manager Beth Kelley said Block exemplifies Christ’s love in the community and is known “for his hard work and dedication.”

“He is one who gives of himself above and beyond,” Kelley said. “He is an example of love and a very humble man.”

Also known for his contagious joy while serving, Block said seeing people happy provides encouragement.

“When people are eating, people are happy. It’s a benefit. Everybody wants to help,” he explained. “When you do these charities, everyone is there to help. It’s a collective effort for a common goal. It’s easy because no one is working against you.” 

Block added that cooking is a way he glorifies God. He encourages others to serve their communities in any way they feel called.

He said, “Jesus came down here to serve, and we’re all called to serve. 

“Find what you can do. Find what can glorify the Lord. Whatever your hobby is, share it. I’m very fortunate that mine is cooking, because you can share that with everybody. Hopefully a lot of good can come from it.

“I like to think that we are stewards of the gifts that God has given us,” Block continued. “We utilize them and want to share our time, talent, and treasure — whatever we can do. If everybody did that, look how easy things would be.” 

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