When COVID restrictions eased, Scott and Kim Dammeier were ready to move forward and deal with the implications the pandemic caused on their business. That was until Scott received a stage four terminal cancer diagnosis and another battle began. Despite the diagnosis, the owner of Scott’s Restaurant in Paris is fighting for his life with the entire community behind him.
“Scott has such a love for life,” Kim Dammeier said. “There is nothing he wants more than to live and continue to serve this community.”
For 20 years, Scott has served Paris and surrounding areas and has been known for his love of cooking and giving back to many local organizations and fundraisers.
When family friend and former employee Tina Graziano learned of his diagnosis, she knew that the family was in for the fight of their lives and decided to create a GoFundMe page to relieve some of the financial burden.
“I worked for Kim and Scott for 15 years and not only were they great bosses to me, they also did a lot for me when my husband was sick and when he passed away,” she said. “When he got sick, he was still trying to come in everyday because they couldn’t afford to be closed after the pandemic. I started the fundraiser to support them for at least a couple days after Scott has emergency hip surgery.”
Graziano said that she knew how much he had given back in the past two decades and that if they asked, the community would be there to return the support. The page was created on January 17 and just surpassed $12 thousand raised of their $25 thousand goal. Graziano and Dammeier agreed that the support has been more than just financially, but extends to kind words, prayers and simply visiting the restaurant for a meal.
“I don’t think that Scott realized how many lives he has touched,” Graziano said. “He has said he cannot believe that people are coming in to tell stories of how he stepped up for them in the past and they never forgot it. I have always been Paris proud, we have a great community here. It’s amazing for them to feel that support. It’s just one thing after another, to hear these messages and see these people doing these things, I think is actually greater than the money.”
Kim said that she has felt overwhelmed by the continuous support that they have received since the diagnosis.
“It really is amazing, it keeps me strong,” she said. “You sit back and think that people don’t actually care but they do. We’re always trying to be the first ones to try to reach out and help people, that’s what we’re all about. To see it come back, I just can’t put it into words.”
With Scott unable to work at risk of getting sick, Kim has been at the restaurant daily, rotating between serving and supporting the kitchen. She explained that the restaurant is already short-staffed, but if they cannot find a cook in the next month, they will be in an even tighter position.
“Our cook now is seasonal and has to leave for another commitment at the end of March, so if I cannot find anyone I will have to be in the kitchen and will lose out on the tips as extra income,” she said. “Our staff has been amazing throughout everything the past few years. We love this restaurant and we are doing everything we can to keep it open so that Scott can come back and do what he loves again.”
In addition to the online fundraiser, they were approached by the Paris detachment of the County of Brant Fire Department, who wanted to host an in-person fundraising event to support Scott and Kim.
“The chief called me and said that when they hosted their first fish-fry fundraiser, Scott was the first person to reach out to donate gift certificates,” Graziano said. “The chief asked me if the fire department could hold an event to help us raise the last of our goal, and of course we were more than happy to have their support.”
The event will be held on Saturday, February 18 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the fire department on Curtis Ave in Paris. There will be photo opportunities with the trucks and a number of activities for the whole family.
“Knowing that he has the whole community behind him is making Scott fight even harder to live,” Dammeier said. “There is nothing he wants more than to be back here to thank everyone for all that they have done.”
For more information on Scott’s Restaurant, check out their web site https://www.restaurantji.com/on/paris/scotts-family-restaurant-/