Clements barbecue joint devastated by storm offering free food for ‘as long as it takes’

COXEY, Alabama – Limestone storm volunteer Bethany Siniard took a much-needed lunch break this afternoon at Blue Springs
Elementary, where she received a free grilled hamburger and side of pinto beans
from Hickory Barn BBQ.

The meal wasn’t fancy, but
Siniard was grateful for the nourishment after a long morning of storm

“I lost my grandparents three
years ago in the Hackleburg tornado,” she said, choking back tears. “I didn’t
give back, so I’m trying to give back now.”

Hickory Barn BBQ owner Bill Davis was
prepared to feed storm victims Sunday night after hearing reports that severe
weather could produce tornadoes in north Alabama, but he had no idea the nearby
community of Coxey would suffer so much devastation.

Davis’ 6-year-old Clements restaurant
endured extensive damage in the storm, which killed two people Monday night in the Billy
Barb’s Court mobile home park in Coxey. Hickory Barn BBQ’s pit house was destroyed and roof was damaged.

Instead of working to recover his own
losses, Davis went straight to Blue Springs on Tuesday morning to serve free food to
emergency workers and residents who have lost their homes or are without power.

“We’re getting to meet people we
haven’t met before,” he said. “The tornado was pretty bad and devastated a lot
of places. I think this event will bring a lot of people together, and good
things will come out of it.”

Hickory Barn BBQ is stationed in front
of the Blue Springs gymnasium and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to
storm victims “for as it takes,” Davis said. Hamburgers, hot dogs, hams, pizzas,
chili and pinto beans were available at the barbecue stand at lunchtime

Davis said area officials from
Limestone and Madison counties have offered their support, and Tyson
Co. plans to deliver an 18-wheeler full of chicken to the school Thursday.

Davis, who fed thousands of Monrovia residents after the April 27, 2011 storms, estimates at least
2,500 Limestone residents and emergency workers came by for free food Tuesday.

“Today will be at least that many
and it will keep growing as the days go on and more people find out,” he said.
“Plus, we’ve got the sheriff’s department taking some of the food out into the
community and dropping it off to people.”

If you would like to donate, Davis said residents and businesses should check the Facebook page,
where donation ideas are posted throughout the day.

As for his business, Davis doesn’t appear too concerned. He plans to get the barbecue joint up and running again as
soon as possible.

“We’ll come back,” he said. “When
I first opened up, I cooked under a tent. I didn’t have a pithouse, so I’ve
cooked in a lot worse places than this.”

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