Despite the quick response, damage to the building was significant. Within hours, the owners declared the business was a loss but, not willing to give up, vowed that they will be back.

Less than a week after a fire ravaged a popular westside restaurant, the community is coming together to show their support for the owners whose generosity over the last 7 years has endeared them to their friends, neighbors and even strangers who have only heard of their good works. 

Kelly and Laurie Preator have been overwhelmed the last several days after fire swept through their restaurant, the Branding Iron Restaurant and Saloon, during the early morning hours of March 16. 

Firefighters returning from a condominium fire that broke out Friday night, March 15, across the lake discovered the restaurant on fire as they drove back to the station. Within minutes firefighters were on the scene. Despite the quick response, damage to the building was significant. Within hours, the owners declared  the business was a loss but, not willing to give up, vowed that they will be back.

Ironically, the restaurant and saloon was hosting at St. Pat’s party later that day.

The restaurant owners and staff have become extended family to many on the westside who are now able to show their appreciation for all the Preator’s have done by giving them something in return. 

The Preators are well known on the westside for supporting the community, from donations to firefighters and law enforcement to spearheading a Christmas Angel program and hosting a free Thanksgiving dinner that feeds hundreds. Kelly and Laurie are described as being the type of people who will give you the shirt off their back without hesitating. And now, it’s time for the community to give back to them, said Matt Sutcliffe, the owner of Bear Bottom Resort. 

“The have spent 7 years building their business and paying it forward, now we can pay it forward,” he said. “They give to the point that it hurts.”

Sutcliffe said he knows the Preators not only as members of the business community but on a personal level as friends. He said they are When talk started about what could be done to help out, he was more than happy to step in and work with the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District which is where the idea of putting on a fundraiser to benefit the Preators originated. 

On Sat.,  March 23 from Noon to 4:00 p.m., Bear Bottom Resort will be hosting a fundraiser at their venue on Lake Road 5-36 in Sunrise Beach sponsored by the  fire protection district.

Sutcliffe said there will be a lot going on at the fundraiser. Food will be available and two auctions will get underway at 3:00 p.m. 

Shuttle buses will be running throughout the event to get people to and from parking lots. 

Sutcliffe said it will be a great afternoon.  

“This kind of outpouring of support is what makes the lake a great community,” he said.