HUNTINGTON — The winner of the van that was donated to the owners of Grady’s Tavern in Huntington started crying when she found out she won, according to Lillian Matthews, who co-owns the business with her husband Tim.

Tammy Osorio, of Ontario, was in need of a vehicle, Matthews said, so the timing was serendipitous.

“It’s the right size and it will hold my wheelchair and handicap equipment,” said Osorio, who is not in a wheelchair full-time, but does have to use one as needed for muscular issues.

“I was extremely excited,” she said, when she found out she won.

Originally she bought the tickets because she wanted to try to help out the tavern owners in some way, as their children went to school together.

Grady’s Tavern was one of the businesses destroyed when an arsonist torched the historic building it was housed in on May 23, and money raised from raffling the van will go toward the eventual reopening of the business.

The 2004 Ford Freestar that was gifted to the Matthews by Steve’s Hometown Toyota was raffled off twice. The first time, it raised $2,180 in raffle ticket sales, and was raffled off on Labor Day weekend. The man who won it donated it back to be re-raffled. At Huntington High School’s homecoming game on Oct. 11, the van was raffled off for a second time.

Matthews did not have the total amount of money raised during the second raffle but said that it was less because they sold the tickets for $10 a piece for the second raffle, and they were $25 a piece for the first one.

Matthews previously stated that she hoped they could reopen Grady’s Tavern in October sometime, but is still unsure of a specific date. They plan to reopen on top of fresh foundation at their old site. This time, the tavern will be housed in a newly fabricated metal building, being built in Emmett that is 34-foot wide by 70-foot long.

Arson history

At the time of the arson fire, the other two businesses in the historic building, Howell’s Cafe and the Streamliner Lounge, which had been closed since fall of 2018, were also destroyed.

The roof on a neighboring business, Huntington Bait and tackle, was also damaged.

The arsonist, Raynmon Garcia, was sentenced to 55 months in prison for starting the fires.

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