Benefits planned to bolster fire victims

Efforts continue to restore restaurants
Aug. 14, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

Community members and volunteers are reaching out to help those affected by the fires that consumed five Sanford businesses last month.

Kelly Gibson, owner of Kelly's Clean Cars, one of three auto businesses that burned in July, said he and his wife, Terrie, lost everything in the fire. Sanford Auto Auction and Big Al's Automotive also sustained heavy fire damage.

"We're hoping to get into a building so I can get back to working," Gibson said. "I'm working now, but I'm working under a shed. A whole lot of different things don't work right when you're not in a building. ... It's like trying to write an essay, and you don't have a pencil or pen. It just doesn't work."

Starting over

Tammy Taylor, a friend of the Gibsons, helped put together a benefit for the family at the Tiki Bar in Jonesboro last Saturday in the hopes of raising money for new equipment and a new building.

"We did a little over $300 [at the benefit]," Taylor said. "And there is another one set up for Aug. 23 from noon to 6 p.m. at Schooly's Bar & Billiards on East Trade Street."

Gibson said the weather did not cooperate with the first event, which featured a plate sale, a wreath auction and a 50-50 raffle, and that the turnout was smaller than expected.

"The [Aug. 23 benefit] will be in a whole lot bigger place," Gibson said. "And I'm hoping there will be a lot more people."

Gibson said he hopes that the benefit will raise enough money for him to rent out a building for his car detailing business and buy some of the tools he lost in the fire.

"It's rough, but I'm going to make it," Gibson said. "This is my life. I've been doing this most of my life. I'm just praying to God. I've got good friends, and people are helping me. I can't ask for much more."

Part of the family

When the Fairview Dairy Bar burned on July 15, many Sanford residents felt like they had lost a family member.

"I'm a regular customer of the Dairy Bar and part of the Dairy Bar family," said Sanford resident Tony Chilton. "And they're part of mine. ... I got involved right away. [The benefit] was an automatic yes for me."

Efforts to rebuild the Dairy Bar and The Flame, which also sustained fire damage during the blaze, already are under way, but Kathy Brewer, who owns both restaurants with her husband, Steve, said there's no specific dates yet available.

"We really are hoping to open The Flame in October," Brewer said. "I can't pinpoint a date in October, as there are so many things left to be done. It looks like the Dairy Bar will be [reopened in] January."

In the meantime, a benefit for the employees of the Dairy Bar and The Flame will be held this Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Depot Park.

"We're trying to bridge the gap between the unemployment amount and their salary," Chilton said, "whatever they were making before, if there's a difference between that and what they're making now on unemployment."

Brewer said unemployment benefits were never as much as someone was originally making on the job, and that she was proud to see Sanford taking care of Sanford.

The benefit will feature five musical acts — The Fog Blues Band, Faith Bardill and the Band, Brick City South, Rob Matthews, and Tuesday Night Music Club. There also will be a raffle for a custom Twang guitar valued at $1,800.

Raffle tickets can be purchased for $10 at Buchanan's Music or at the event itself. Chilton said 200 tickets were printed and that they are selling quickly.

Chilton said the weather looks good for the weekend and expects a big turnout at the event, though he said he is still looking for food vendors for the benefit.

"I think this has the potential to be a big event," Chilton said. "We have five local bands who have all played at Depot Park before.

"We've got about 6,000 hits so far on the Facebook page for our event. If we have a quarter of those [attend the event], that's going to be full. That's going to be exciting."



Benefit for employees of Fairview Dairy Bar and The Flame

Sunday at Depot Park on Charlotte Avenue

1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

Raffle tickets can be purchased for $10 at Buchanan's Music in Sanford or at the event.

Benefit for Kelly and Terrie Gibson

Aug. 23 at Schooly's Bar and Billiards on East Trade Street

Noon to 6 p.m.

Dinner plates are $6.

There will be a 50-50 raffle at the event as well.