Mid-Michigan rallies around Gaylord following devastating tornado

A local restaurant jumped into action to help those in need
Michiganders rally for Gaylord after devastating tornado
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Significant damage from the EF-3 tornado that touched down in Gaylord Friday was the only detail restaurant owners in Okemos needed to put their newest investment to use.

“I thought it was a plain state or Texas, or something like that. Not something in Michigan, let alone Gaylord,” said Matthew Gillett, co-owner of Saddleback BBQ in Okemos. “When it finally dawned on me that this is actually happening in Michigan -- I was short of breath.”

When destruction hit in Michigan, the co-owners of Saddleback BBQ knew it was time to put their mobile pizza oven to good use.

“We bought this pizza restaurant at the beginning of the year -- we bought a mobile pizza oven. We’ve been trying to find uses for it outside of catering needs,” said Gillett. “I messaged my business partner -- Travis -- and said I’m going , ‘We’re going to go up there and we’re going to serve pizza.’ There wasn’t any real thought to why, it just seemed like there was a community in need and we could impactfully, hopefully, make a little bit of a difference.”

Gillett said he got on Facebook to let people know what he was planning to do. By 4 a.m. the next morning, donations were sitting at the door of the restaurant and he was on the road by 6 a.m.

“The thing that we know best is how to make food. I assume that the person who can trim trees or haul away rubble, they’re up there too doing what they can do. So the one thing that we know that we can do is make food,” said Gillett.

Saddleback BBQ said they are working with Life Church in Gaylord and other community members to make sure they’re providing what the community needs. You can reach out to Slice by Saddleback on Facebook to join them in giving back and helping those in need.

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