By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Helping store say goodbye
Fundraiser allows DQ family to pay final respects to manager
dq 2
Customers flocked to the Rincon Dairy Queen last Thursday night as part of a fundraiser in honor of Russell Davis, a manager at the restaurant who died in a house fire, along with his wife and two of their daughters. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Customers were jammed into nearly every nook and cranny, waiting either on the patio to get in or in a line of vehicles stretching from the drive through window back through the parking lot and all the way to the traffic light at Highway 21.

And the staff of the Rincon Dairy Queen didn’t seem to mind.

The restaurant was packed for several hours Thursday evening as they held a memorial fundraiser in honor of a manager and his family killed in a house fire. Russell Davis, his wife Wendi and two of their daughters, Haley and Susannah, died in a Dec. 28 fire at their Stilson home. The Dairy Queen, where Davis was a manager, donated all sales from 5-8 p.m. Thursday toward funeral expenses for the Davis family.

“It was a lot of people,” said Scott Ballard, general manager of the Rincon Dairy Queen. “It was phenomenal the amount of people who came out to support Russell last night.  I’m not gonna lie to you — I cried a little bit because of the outpouring for him and his family.”

The store raised almost $5,500 during its three-hour event and the first hour alone brought in around $2,400.

“We had our business consultant here,” Ballard said, “and out of everything he’s ever seen, that’s one of the biggest hours.”

There were customers who decided to donate to the cause without making an order for food, Ballard added.

Nearly every employee of the store was on hand for the event, and employees from other stores in Inman Hodges’ restaurant group were called in to help.

“There was not a complaint. We didn’t get flustered, we didn’t get angry,” Ballard said. “One of my members said, ‘if Russell was here right now, he’d be freaking out.’ Anytime we’d get really, really busy, Russell would get fired up, because he couldn’t stand for people to wait.”

Ballard said he was glad the company allowed the store to pay its respect to Davis with the fundraiser. Thursday night’s fundraiser also gave the store’s staff closure with the loss of their co-worker and friend. Flyers in the store announcing the event had a picture of Davis, and another placard asked customers “to try one of Russell’s favorites.”

“It was our final way to say goodbye to him,” Ballard said.