SOUTH WEBSTER – Early morning, August 1, tragedy struck a local business. R&R Tent Rentals went up in flames when a truck that was parked near the building caught fire. The building and its contents are deemed to be a total loss.
“According to our investigator, this fire appears to have originated in a vehicle next to the garage structure. An accurate point of origin and cause within the vehicle could not be determined. The structure, vehicle and trailer was a total loss.”, said Andy Ellinger, Public Information Officer for the State Fire Marshal.
R&R Tent Rentals is a family owned and operated business in Vernon Township, near South Webster and Wheelersburg.
“We lost over 95% of our inventory and we saved nothing from the fire,” Owner Rodney Wright claimed. “We plan to rebuild. We’ve got inventory coming, we’ve got a building to build, we’re making a little headway, but my last 25 years was in that building.”
While a rebuild is in the works, Wright expresses his gratitude to the many people assisting during this trying time.
“I can’t thank everybody enough for what they’re doing,” Wright said. “I feel like I’ll owe everybody in Scioto County for this.”
Wright mentions his children’s involvement in the business and their concern for the future.
“If it wasn’t for my kids, I would’ve probably retired,” said Wright.
Wright has been a staple of the South Webster and surrounding communities for years, working in close association with the local school district and townships alike.
“Not only does he employ high school kids and help them, but, when COVID was happening, he also donated tents so we could do things outside at the elementary school. He didn’t charge us anything to do that. We had tents set up that whole year,” says Kristie Johnson, educator and acquaintance. “This is one of our core businesses and we don’t have a lot in Bloom Vernon.“
However, in light of this recent tragedy, this small community is coming together to help Wright and his employees while he faces the financial burdens of the fire. Kristie Johnson and Ryan Fenton, both educators with Bloom Vernon Schools, wanted to find a way to give back. On the first day after the fire, Fenton and Johnson started planning. With a team of ten members, they worked tirelessly to assemble a golf scramble to raise money for employees directly affected by the fire.
While there are other businesses who serve this particular need, and most are Chamber of Commerce members, Lisa Carver, Executive Director of the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, said this is a big loss.
“R&R is a longtime Chamber of Commerce member and a big local supporter. They provide sponsorship for local events with tents, tables, and chairs. They offer a very valuable service that not many other businesses in the area offer. It hurts not only the company, but the community too,” says Carver.
The golf scramble will take place September 17 at the Little Scioto Golf Course. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. All proceeds will go directly to R&R Employees who were affected.
With over $5,600 raised of their current goal of $10,000, as well as donations from local businesses, they hope to soon achieve their goal.
Raffle tickets, skins, skirts, and mulligans will be available for purchase the day of the event. Teams are currently full, but hole sponsors are still needed. For further information regarding sponsorship, please contact Krisite Johnson at [email protected]
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