Dedicated cook wins Aiken Standard online contest
After three deployments to Iraq, working long hours at one of the few eateries open during the ice storm that hit the CSRA on Feb. 12 wasn't that big of a deal to Charles Felder.
Here are some other creative answers readers gave to the question, “What are you doing to keep warm?”
Jamie Johnson Mabry -- “We are sitting here in the dark with two flower pots and three candles in a cake pan. We're on our second dozen tea candles now. This time, we got apple cinnamon and our dog, who is blind, tried to get on the table to eat it.”
Amanda Canady Hommel -- “My husband set up our camping tent in the sitting area of our bedroom -- complete with sleeping bags and every blanket in the house.”
Brian Eugene Hall -- “Toilet paper roll doused in rubbing alcohol in a coffee can then lit on fire. Lasts for hours.”
Brittany Moore -- “We had an indoor cookout. Built a fire in the fireplace and let the kids roast hotdogs over the fire.”
Denise Reinss -- “Making coffee with Pepsi or beer cans in the fireplace and then pouring it through the filter.”
Nancy Marschalk -- “Heating bricks or rocks on grill outside wrap in a towel put in you bed so warm.”
Felder, a Graniteville resident, U.S. Army veteran and Huddle House employee, spent his time weathering the storm at work.
He was the winner of the Aiken Standard's online contest, which asked readers what they were doing to keep warm during the cold weather and power outages.
More than a dozen people responded, but Felder's answer scored a $25 gas card.
Felder said he worked about 25 hours of overtime within three days at the Graniteville Huddle House in efforts to feed residents without power.
“… I have (no power) at home, so I am using this as a blessing to stay warm and as a chance to give back to others in the same situation as me and my family …” he wrote on the Aiken Standard Facebook page.
On the day of the storm and in the days that followed, business at the restaurant was nonstop, Felder said.
Residents without electricity poured in to get a hot meal, he said. Some were even going over to the restaurant's attached Kent's Corner to take a shower, Felder said.
Also, power crews and emergency responders were frequently dropping by for to-go orders.
“It's been crazy,” Felder said. “On Wednesday night, we were one of the only restaurants open between North Augusta and Aiken.”
He said people were dropping $10 to $20 tips.
One of their frequent customers, Ronnie Chance, even volunteered to help take orders and wash dishes to help staff handle the crowd.
Felder said he didn't expect his answer to win, though.
“It was a great way to stay warm,” Felder said. “All I was doing was doing my job.”