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Strangers Help Army Veteran Rebuild Business After It Burned to the Ground

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Small business owners face risks that salaried employees can never understand. They face liability risks, tax risks, financing risks and marketing risks.

And if they manage to dispatch those, they have to deal with at least one more risk: plain, old bad luck. If something goes awry with an employee, he might suffer a reprimand or a demotion.

But a whim of fortune can rob a business owner of his entire livelihood in an instant. For example, Jason and Julie Lorraine from Molalla, Oregon, saw their business quite literally go up in smoke.

According to the Salem Statesman Journal, the couple owns Squatchy’s BBQ, a food truck. On July 15, they were driving to a food-truck rally when they noticed something worrisome.

Jason, who is an Army veteran, glanced in his rearview mirror and saw smoke — lots of smoke. He was towing the food truck in his pickup, so he quickly got to the shoulder of the road to see if he could do anything.

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“I originally thought I could put it out with the fire extinguisher,” he said. “But the minute I got out of the truck, I realized that’s not gonna work.”

“I grabbed whatever I could think to grab … our phones, our cash. I just had to stand there and watch it burn.”

The food truck was a complete loss. The fire was so hot that it had also scorched the body of his Chevrolet and melted his taillights.

After the mishap, a despondent Jason didn’t have much hope on recouping his losses, even though the food truck was insured. “The amount of loss is going to be way greater than the trailer itself,” he said.

However, USA Today reported that a restaurant pal, Ken Carey of Baked & Loaded Potatoes, started a GoFundMe campaign. They were seeking $25,000 to get their business back to booming.

And you know what? They got it and then some.

As of Friday morning, they’ve raised $28,000 thanks to 406 people. Doing a little math shows that the average gift was $70, no small amount.

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According to Army Times, the family’s story also got featured on Fox News. Many of the people who donated were themselves veterans.

Earnest Ferrell wrote, “From one vet to another, best wishes and proud to help those that are the backbone of this country.” James Barbarino added, “Good luck, brother, from a Navy veteran.”

“Most of them, I have no idea who they are,” Jason said. “The way it took off it was crazy.

“We thought we could get, you know, a thousand dollars because we’re really nobody, just a little barbecue business … but it just skyrocketed. It’s very touching.”

More than touching, it’s also transformative. Thanks to the influx of funds, Squatchy’s BBQ now has a new brick-and-mortar location — and it sits on a lot rather than on wheels.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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