The 'Devon Grube Memorial Barbecue Classic' runs through Sunday at the KOA campground in Virginia Beach. Proceeds benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation, Operation Once in a Lifetime, and the Grube family. None
A community remembers a Navy SEAL.
Devon Grube didn't die on the battlefield, but after falling from a kayak and into 45-degree water in Cape Charles. A three-day event called the "Devon Grube Memorial BBQ Classic" to help support his family, starts on Friday.
His wife, Margie, recalls meeting Devon in San Diego. A native of Chicago, she thought she could help Devon get used to big-city life.
"I was thinking, 'He's this guy from the small town [of Cavalier, North Dakota]... let me take him under my wing,'" she says. "And he played that role well and he would always laugh. Like in the past years being like, 'I got her!'"
Margie and Devon began dating. And she remembers the moment when she knew he was The One.
"We went on a camping trip," she says. And I'm trying to think when it was, but... it was just, like, you know, enjoying the simpleness of each other."
That simplicity grew to love and they got married. But it wasn't until they started a family that Margie's "tough Navy SEAL" became a nurturer, a teacher, an amazing dad.
"He built our kid's crib," she says. "He went in the woods, cut down a tree, and did everything by hand. And so, it's kinda like a log cabin crib. And... on the outside, he carved in each of the kids' names and birthdays, and on the top wrote, 'Love, Dad.'"
Margie says she can see Devon in each of her children. "My heart aches the most for them... that they don't get him anymore," she says. "Wyatt wants to take care of me, even though he's a 7-year-old. Hazel, my youngest who's 2, is a complete free spirit. Harper, out of the three, she looks like him the most."
Margie was helping the kids get ready for the day just like any other morning, on December 28, 2016. Devon had already left home hours ago to go kayak fishing, and Margie and the kids were about to head out the door.
Then the phone rang.
"I knew something was wrong," Margie says.
"He had told me that he was in the water. The wave came, and he had fallen off the kayak and his boat was gone. And, I mean, it was end of December, and we now know the water was 45 degrees. And from that point, you know, he pretty much said, 'I love you, tell the kids I love them'. And I was like, "No, you hang on. You hang on. I'm gonna get you help'."
"And he proceeded to call me 11 times from the water... I don't know how he was able to call. But, you know, like, I pretty much was on the phone with him as he was dying."
"It's so hard because I hear it every day in my head. I hear his voice every day. I hear that call. I hear those like, breathing moments every day, and just relive that every day," Margie says.
It was the darkest moment of her life. But now, that moment lights her path.
"I don't know why this is my journey, and why it's my journey without him," says Margie, "but... what I'm able to see now is that he's, you know, as he's dying, the only thing he wanted to do was talk to me. Which is beautiful in a sense. But to know, like, how strong his love was... it gives me a little bit of peace in my heart."
Margie, family and friends now wear a green bracelet that symbolizes Devon, because colors have meaning; a color like red may represent feelings of anger, rage, or trouble. But green can epitomize times of joy, fulfillment, and peace.
Devon's life only lasted about 35 years. But according to Margie, he tried to live every moment in the green.