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When a Tragic Accident Injures a Chef, His Generous Community Steps In

June 19, 2014
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When a Tragic Accident Injures a Chef, His Generous Community Steps In
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The town of Lexington, Kentucky rallies to keep the doors to a local favorite eatery open.

This man always took care of his community, and how his community is looking after him.

Mamadou “Sav” Savanè, the owner and head chef of Sav’s Grill & West African Cuisine in Lexington, Kentucky is known for being one of the nicest people in town. Case in point: Yelp reviewers consistently pile praise on Savanè’s food and how he takes the time to thank new and returning customers alike.

So when the beloved restauranteur suffered a horrific fall, his town was there to pick him right back up.

According to reports, Savanè was hospitalized after he accidentally slipped and pulled 20 gallons of boiling peanut sauce onto his body. He sustained second-degree burns on 50 percent of his body, including his face, neck, arms and torso.

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The spill could have been devastating on Savanè’s family — his absence and medical bills could have forced the restaurant to close. However, in stroke of luck, Savanè had taught his son, Bangaly, all his recipes just one month before the accident. As Savanè recovers in the ICU, Bangaly, his mom and sister, and a few volunteers and employees have been holding down the fort.

“By the time I am well, the restaurant would have been bankrupt,” Savané told the Today Show. “I’m so proud of [Bangaly]. In the last two weeks, he grew up very, very, very fast.”

Even more incredibly, as word got out about the accident, the community responded with overwhelming support, raising enough money to keep the restaurant open and to help Sav with his medical bills.

A family friend, Chuck Creacy, set up a GiveFoward account, which collected more than $60,000 since the accident.

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“Sav’s just the nicest fella in the whole world. You want to help him because he works really hard — he works seven days a week — he has this huge, contagious smile, his food is wonderful and everyone loves him,” Creacy told Today. “And we have an amazing community — very generous people.”

There was even a fundraising party to help the Lexington restaurant owner get back on his feet. As ABC36 reports, only about 600 people were expected to attend, but about 1,300 showed up in just the first 45 minutes.

Savane knows that despite his nasty fall, his community has his back.

“We’re infinitely indebted,” he told WKYT. “It’s unbelievable the support, the love, and the caring that we’re getting from everybody. It really shows that Kentucky has a true sense of commonwealth. That word hasn’t meant much to me until this incident has happened.”

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