Army veteran Jason Lorraine and his wife Julie were once the proud owners of Squatchy’s BBQ trailer, but an unexpected fire destroyed the family-owned business on July 15.
While driving to a rally in Stayton, Oregon, they noticed smoke rising from their BBQ trailer hitched to the back of their Chevy pickup truck.
After pulling over and attempting to extinguish the fire, the Lorraines were only able to unhitch their trailer and grab valuable items before the entire trailer was engulfed in flames.
The Oregon couple experienced what was initially believed to be a complete loss of their business. However, in recent days, the 20-year Army retiree and his wife have persevered and received a resounding amount of local and national support after the unexplained fire.
Two days after the fire, they set up a makeshift food stand to grill hot dogs and garner support and donations.
Squatchy’s BBQ Facebook page highlighted the event.
That day, friends of the Lorraine family and Squatchy’s BBQ starting a GoFundMe page to raise a goal of $25,000 to help make up for the loss of the trailer. In the days following, multiple local media outlets reported about the misfortune, and they were interviewed live July 19 in a national news segment on Fox and Friends.
“We received so much support. I am shocked and floored that we were able to meet our goal,” said Jason Lorraine.
The GoFundMe fundraiser raised slightly more than its intended goal and donations are still being accepted.
The comments section of the page is filled with supportive messages, including notes from veterans.
“MSgt. USAF ret. Here. “Never give up, never quit,” wrote Tony Doering.
Jason Lorraine retired from the Army after 20 years of Military Police service. He completed four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan during his time in uniform.
His teenage daughters are following his footsteps. Kelsey, 19, is in the Air Force and Courtney, 18, is headed for Army basic training.
Business was going well for the co-owners of Squatchy’s BBQ until the trailer was destroyed. Now Jason Lorraine expresses a positive outlook and growth plans for his BBQ business.
“I am currently in the process of acquiring a venue for a brick and mortar location for Squatchy’s," he told Military Times. "Despite what happened, having a Squatchy’s home-base will be great. We absolutely plan to have another food trailer or truck to send out to events.”
The Lorraine’s are looking to open a location “ASAP,” said Jason.
His major concern though is maintaining a reputation of quality BBQ.
“My smoker was completely lost. You can’t use something that is cheap and produces poor quality," he said. "So if anyone out there knows of a quality smoker for a good price, that would greatly help!”
Neil is a former US Army Captain and served operational deployments in South Korea and Afghanistan. He is currently an Editorial Fellow at the Military Times.