February 22, 2017 Edition

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Portia Dairy King makes
the best of a bad situation

Steven Lee (left) discusses repairs to the Portia Diary King with Gina Rorex, owner. The restaurant reopened Friday after being damaged by a vehicle accident the previous Saturday.

John Bland

An unfortunate accident at the Dairy King in Portia on Saturday, Feb. 11, could have been much worse, said Gina Rorex, restaurant owner.

The accident occurred shortly before noon when a driver accidently pressed down on the accelerator instead of the brake, causing the vehicle to plow into the restaurant's front entrance and to jar two diners at a table nearest to the entrance. Security cameras at the Dairy King recorded the event, showing the impact and damage to the front doors, wall and ceiling.

Talking about the accident last Wednesday still made Rorex a little emotional.

Thankfully, the two diners were not seriously injured, nor was the driver, and the front entrance, including the small vestibule between the outer and inner doors, was clear of customers at the time.

Other diners in the restaurant were encouraged to finish their meals, and then the restaurant was closed. Fortunately for Rorex, one of her neighbors in Portia, Steven Lee, is a carpenter.

Early Sunday morning both Lee and Rorex were at the scene, assessing the damage and making a list of the needed replacement doors and materials. Despite it being the Sabbath, Lee said they needed "to get the ox out of the ditch."

In addition to repairing the damage, Rorex decided it would also be a good time to do some remodeling. New ceiling fans and lighting were added, and the dining room walls were repainted. New windows were also planned.

"It was a nice time to take advantage of a bad situation and make lemonade out of a lemon," Rorex said.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident and beyond, the people affected and involved, including her staff, were great, she said. She's received only "good vibes" and "everyone's been helpful."

Although she hated to miss the Valentine's Day business, the restaurant was closed less than a week. After an inspection by the health department, the Dairy King was able to reopen on Friday. They are again serving the catfish, steaks and ice cream, for which they are known, to area residents, as well as travelers on U.S. Hwy. 63.

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