Garner: Community

MoonRunners to raise cash for Johnston crash victims

Jessica Coats, left, was injured in the car accident that killed his boyfriend, Lucas Currin. MoonRunners is hosting a fundraiser for the Kickback Jack's employee March 16.
Jessica Coats, left, was injured in the car accident that killed his boyfriend, Lucas Currin. MoonRunners is hosting a fundraiser for the Kickback Jack's employee March 16. Submitted photo

Brooke Canady knows what it’s like to deal with profound personal loss – especially when you work in a field that calls for a sunny disposition. So when the MoonRunners waitress learned of the accident that injured a waitress she knew from a nearby bar and resulted in the death of her boyfriend, she figured she should do something to help.

So she did. MoonRunners will hold a fundraising event including a cornhole tournament for the crash victims on Sunday, March 16 starting at 2 p.m.

Sometime near 3 a.m. the morning of March 2, Jessica Coats’ boyfriend Lucas Currin was driving the couple toward his Benson home from a restaurant near the 40-42 intersection in Cleveland when his truck veered off the road and hit a tree head-on. Currin died at the scene; Coats was injured and taken to the hospital.

Canady wasn’t close friends with the injured Kickback Jack’s employee, but in a server industry that often includes overlapping social circles, she had run into her more than once.

“She just always had a smile on her face. She was a good old country girl that always made everyone laugh, and was always in a good mood,” Canady said. “She never had anything bad to say about anybody.”

When she heard about the accident, it naturally saddened her, but she understood better than most what Coats faced.

About two and a half years ago, her boyfriend died. She had to take off work for a month in a job reliant on tips for income. With the weight of such a loss on your mind, it can be difficult to help ensure patrons have an upbeat, good time.

“It wasn’t a car accident and I wasn’t injured, but I know how that pain feels,” Canady said. “As a server you have to interact with people, so it’s difficult.”

So she went to her manager, Guy Wavra, with an idea. She knew her bar had planned to try to start up some cornhole tournaments, and she figured it would be a good opportunity to raise some money.

“She brought it up and said this is what we should be doing, ran it by me, and I said absolutely, not even a question,” said Wavra, who co-owns the bar remade last spring by Bar Rescue with his father-in-law. “Jessica is a customer of ours, a friend of some of our staff. We thought it was something we wanted to do.”

The event will include a cornhole tournament with a $30 entry fee per team, a 50-50 raffle, and a “Chinese auction.” Francisa Wallace, a server from Kickback Jack’s and friend of Canady’s, has been helping her with the planning.

All of the money will go to Coats; Canady said it was up to her if she wanted to help Currin’s family with any needs.

The crash happened on Old Fairground Road near its intersection with Massengale Pond Road, about six miles northwest of Benson. State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. Speed was not a factor; investigators are awaiting toxicology reports to determine if alcohol was involved.

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