Sausage sizzled.

Corn bread pancakes flew off the griddle in the dozens.

The West Texas Rehab Center sponsored a free chuck-wagon meal for about 150 people before their 55th annual Round-Up for Rehab sale at the Abilene Livestock Auction Tuesday.

“It’s a West Texas tradition,” said Woody Gilliland, president and CEO of the Rehab. “It’s our way of building relationships and bringing people together.”

The auction is a major fundraiser for the facility.

Several of the people working to put together the brisket and sausage, beans and cobbler lunch have been associated with the Rehab for many years.

Larry Farr, a former employee who retired ten years ago, keeps returning as a volunteer to help with the various fundraisers.

“I enjoy coming out here,” Farr said. “All these old boys are friends of mine.”

It’s not unusual for people who come to the auction to have had a friend or family member helped by the Rehab, Farr pointed out. He was a patient there himself, as well as both of his parents and a niece. People just want to give back.

“They’re good hard-working people who are dedicated to what they do,” he said.

The corn bread pancake cook was another volunteer, who has been helping the Rehab since 1963. Ken Deatherage retired in 1998 from his business of selling and repairing two-way radios, and has been helping with the auctions and telethons regularly. A childhood friend of his with polio was helped by the Rehab back in 1955.

“The Rehab is special,” he said.