Race to Recovery: Native Kitchen hosts fundraiser for Montreat College running coach

ALL IN FOR OLINGER: On Saturday, March 25, Native Kitchen and Social Pub will donate 100 percent of the day's proceeds to the Olinger family. Last month, Britten Olinger was hit by a car in Black Mountain. Photo courtesy of the Support Britten's Race to Recovery GoFundMe page

“To say that my brother loves to run is an understatement,” writes Nancy Quesenberry. The statement is posted on Quesenberry’s GoFundMe page, which she started last month on behalf of her brother, Britten Olinger.

On Feb. 27, Olinger, who is the head coach of the Montreat College men’s and women’s track and field teams, was hit by a car. His injuries include a severed spine, fractured pelvis, broken arm, small brain bleed and traumatic injury to his lungs. Quesenberry notes that her brother is not expected to walk again; she estimates his recovery will take over a year, with a considerable amount of time spent in the intensive care unit. “To say he has a long road … is an understatement,” she writes. “[H]owever, he has all the training to win the race.”

The local community has rallied around Olinger. The GoFundMe page has raised over $100,000, which, in addition to helping with medical expenses, will assist Olinger’s wife, Samantha, and their infant daughter, Kolbie.

Support is also coming from beyond the online format. On Saturday, March 25, Native Kitchen and Social Pub will host the Race to Recovery benefit, in which the restaurant will donate 100 percent of the day’s proceeds to the Olinger family.

“Being a part of the community and giving back to the local people has always been something really important to the owners of Native Kitchen and Social Pub,” says Marissa Howard, the restaurant’s marketing manager. “When we found out what happened, the owners immediately wanted to get involved.”

Featured menu items will include ceviche, short ribs, lobster rolls and gumbo. Native Kitchen’s daily menu — which includes burgers, pizzas, salads and a variety of other appetizers, entrées and sides — will also be available. There will be a $1 discount on all bottled and canned beers throughout the day, while half-price appetizers will be available 5-6 p.m. The kitchen will be closed from 4-5 p.m. There will be live music from the Freewheelin’ Mamas from 1-3:30 p.m.

“Native Kitchen and Social Pub feels very strongly about being a place where people can gather in support of their community,” say the restaurant’s owners, Casey and Sarah Watkins and Meredith and Brandon Ellison, in a joint statement. “When a tragedy happens so close to home, we feel it is imperative that we do what we can to support those involved. We are grateful for the opportunity to be able to bring the community together and give everyone a chance to help the Olinger family.”

WHAT: Race to Recovery Benefit

WHERE:  Native Kitchen and Social Pub, 204 Whitson Ave, Swannanoa. avl.mx/3hu

WHEN: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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