People Raise Money For The Restaurant Owner Who Had No Choice But To Close Doors After Wife’s Death
Pinewood Restaurant in Henrico county, Virginia, is a very special place. Just ask any of the regulars, especially members of the local police force and fire department. When tragedy struck one day, they rallied together in an amazing way.
The owners of Pinewood Restaurant, Tody and Betty Butner, have established a very reputable business over the past 32 years. All of the restaurant’s patrons feel welcome here, just as though one were part of a big family. So, when news that Betty passed away was known among the regulars, they were devastated.
“It was like losing your own mother,” Officer Grimmer remembered. “It was very hard.”
“If Betty were here right now she would hug you and kiss you on the cheek before you left, and she doesn’t even know you,” said Henrico Police Officer Billy Grimmer.
When Betty died in early December, Tody didn’t see how he could continue in the restaurant he and Betty had so dearly loved.
Funeral costs for Betty were going to send Tody broke, and he had no other option but to close up shop. That’s when his faithful customers stepped in.
The Henrico Police and Fire Departments had many members who frequented the diner, and they all pitched in together to raise $6,000 to help cover Betty’s funeral costs, and keep the restaurant open.
The community came together and the place was reopened for one night. It was packed out as Officer Grimmer made the special presentation.
“On behalf of everybody we don’t want you to close down, we want the restaurant back open,” Officer Grimmer told an overwhelmed Tody as he handed him the check.
“Y’all are the best,” said a very emotional Tody. “I feel wonderful about it. It’s nice to have good friends and the whole family and all the workers the whole nine yards.”
There was also enough money raised for Tody to have Betty cremated, taking the financial strain off the rest of the family.
“That’s just somethin’ you do from the heart—it’s just friends helpin’ friends,” said one customer.
One customer said he could feel Betty’s presence there that night.
“You can feel her in the room now,” Tody’s friend Mike Elliott told WTVR, as he looks at Betty’s portrait. “I guess in the back of my head I can hear her saying something.”
Betty’s ashes will be kept in an urn on the counter in her memory.
The restaurant is set to reopen on Jan. 2, with the couple’s daughter ready to step into her mom’s shoes in the kitchen.
Betty is sure to be smiling down on them.