Local resident Dustin Rhodes, affectionately known as Ginger Beard Man and Dr. Grizzle Bear, was a lot of things. He was the family cook, a baker, a landlord, a railroad worker, a hunter, a husband …
Local resident Dustin Rhodes, affectionately known as Ginger Beard Man and Dr. Grizzle Bear, was a lot of things. He was the family cook, a baker, a landlord, a railroad worker, a hunter, a husband and father of five.
Rhodes died in November of 2021 of COVID-19, but he’s still making a positive impact. In June, his widow, Heather Rhodes Tisdale, started Dustin’s Pantry, a nonprofit organization that will provide area residents who win a monthly drawing with home raised goods from her hobby farm.
Giving what they have to others
Rhodes may be gone but Dustin’s Pantry overflows with references to him and his kind hearted nature.
“I think a lot of people were intimidated because he was a big dude, a hairy dude, he liked shooting things. But, he was just a softie,” Tisdale said.
Tisdale remembers when a young man who rented a property from them was behind on his rent. Tisdale had just finished processing six chickens, a chore neither of them enjoyed. Rhodes had just made a batch of biscuits when the renter came to the door to hand Rhodes the check. That renter left with three of the six chickens and had sampled the biscuits, all at Rhodes’ request.
“He was always doing that. It’s like, ‘I just got done doing this and he’s giving it away,’” Tisdale said with a smile. “But it’s kind of the point though, we have enough and then we have extra and might as well not hoard the extra.”
For Rhodes and Tisdale, who tithed in their church community, this was another form of tithing.
“Well, you know, that could be a way of giving too, it doesn’t have to be just money, it can be whatever we got,” Tisdale remembers Rhodes saying.
The organization’s name and the philosophy of giving isn’t the only homage to Rhodes. The logo is a cartoon of Rhodes with a plate of fresh donuts; he’s wearing an apron that proudly declares him Ginger Beard Man.
Rhodes and Tisdale ran the local roller derby team and Ginger Beard Man was his nickname as a coach. Tisdale joked that half the people he knew probably knew him as Ginger Beard Man.
Taking a peak in Dustin’s Pantry
The idea for Dustin’s Pantry had first come to Tisdale’s mind around the one year anniversary of Dustin’s death. She had made blankets and pillows with his face on them for their children and plans to make a memory book for family members to remember him.
“I wanted to do something [so] other people can remember him and because he grew up here, and we lived in Powell for a long time,” Tisdale said.
In a way it’s also giving back to the community that helped their family after Rhodes’ death. Members of the community paid for the children’s tuition, provided meals for the family for a year and gave financial support.
“The community really came together and they supported us, every need, every single need,” Tisdale said. “I want to give back to that as a thank you.”
Tisdale lived in Cody with her parents for a period of time and sold or gave away most of her livestock. But, after moving her family onto five acres in Powell, Tisdale’s hobby farm grew back to full force within a matter of months.
Tisdale has dairy cows, goats, chickens, quail, lambs, yaks, bees and pigs. She’s currently trying to crossbreed Bresse and barred rock chickens to make a meat and egg laying hybrid chickens. On top of caring for the animals, Tisdale also roasts coffee beans for the household and for Dustin’s Pantry.
Dustin’s pantry has finished its first month of donations and future batches may include homemade cookies from Rhodes’ and Tisdale’s daughter as well as items from friends and community members.
“My hope is if people have extras and they want a way to distribute them they could just drop them off and as long as they’re not super perishable or something I can then help distribute [them],” Tisdale said. “So it’s not necessarily just like our little mini ranch thing, it’s more the community helping out the rest of the community too.”
Visit the Dustin’s Pantry Facebook page for more information.