Bennington community helps beloved cook after holiday heartbreak
People in Bennington, Vermont are stepping up to help one of their own and showing the might of a small community.
The head cook at the Blue Benn Diner in Bennington has been serving up goodness to the community for years, and now it’s the community that’s returning the favor after tragedy struck.
On Friday, Brian Carpenter left his two dogs, Sadie and Sammy, to begin prepping the diner before dawn. Around 7:00 a.m., the breakfast rush was interrupted by sirens.
“Like wow, it must be a good fire going on or something,” said Carpenter.
But he soon realized they were at his address.
“Bennington Police Department called here and asked for me. As soon as I got on the phone, I’m like, what’s going on, and he’s like, I’m so sorry sir, your house is on fire,” he said.
The house is still standing, but the fire took the two most precious things inside—his two beloved dogs.
“As I was going up, they were pulling the crate out. I would never want to see it again and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. I mean, the house you can replace. It’s devastating to see animals like that,” he said.
Blue Benn Owner John Getchell immediately started a GoFundMe. He hoped to gather $5,000.
“Brian’s like my family,” he said.
But he was pleasantly surprised to see so many people step in to help, so quickly.
“I thought we’d hit the target but i didn’t think we’d hit it in less than a day,” he said.
By the end of the weekend, the fund was up to $20,000.
“It’s been a really heartening example of how a small community can come together in a situation like this,” Getchell said.
The diner has sat in its familiar spot since 1948. Getchell purchased the place from its longtime owners around three years ago.
Carpenter has been the heart of the kitchen for nearly 30 years.
It’s not just customers helping him. Madison Brewing Company hosted a trivia night to raise even more money.
“This town has really outdone itself I think,” Getchell said.
In a world of constant change, Carpenter’s food offers consistency. He’s learning just how much that means to people.
“It’s amazing,” he said.
As he starts over this holiday season, he’s already thinking of how to pay it forward.
“It opens up my eyes to like next time I hear about stuff like that, I’ll be one of the first ones doing the donating,” he said.