Crossroads Tavern in Bunnell serves up support for families with medical needs

Flagler business owner starts nonprofit to help community

BUNNELL, Fla. – Janice Bontempo, owner of the Crossroads Tavern in Bunnell, is this week's Getting Results Award winner. 

Step into the Crossroads Tavern and you're instantly welcome. It's the kind of place where a seat at the bar comes with the understanding that you're family. Bontempo, who has owned the tavern for a year, sees the business as an extension of herself.

"We're a community where we all try to help each other out," she said. "That's what we're about. We're about having fun, doing different things but, most of all we're about family."

Regular David O'Brien agrees.

"It's like Cheers. Everybody knows everyone's name in here," he said.

Bontempo was working one evening when she noticed some new faces. Marsha Shaon and Kimberly Lewis were there with their family to celebrate a birthday. The three struck up a conversation and Lewis revealed that she had hurt her leg while trying to care for her 14-year-old nephew Colby,  who has cerebal palsy.

"She told me she fell trying to carry him," Bontempo said. "She told me how they just bought this trailer and somebody stole their water system and oven, all that stuff. That was the money they were going to use to build a ramp."

Bontempo made a call to her friends in the Punishers Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club of Flagler. The group calls the tavern its hangout and agreed to help build them a ramp. 

"Janice told us about it and we said we'll help out," club secretary David O'Brien said. "We got all the guys together and went to work."

O'Brien said about 25 members helped complete the project in a weekend. "Our motto is 'in service to others," he said. "And that's what we do."

"I was overwhelmed," Shaon said. "Tears of joy, pure gratitude in my heart for people I don't even know." She said she's now a supporter of the Punishers.   

 "It's an amazing group of men that are willing to give back to the community," Bontempo said.

"I know the struggles," she said. "When people come to me I know the struggles medically when you're struggling financially and trying to get things done."

Bontempo's granddaughter has had a number of health problems including  two organ transplants. She makes regular trips to Miami for her treatments. "I've done it," she says. "Emotionally, financially you get drained. How do you do that? You need help."

Bontempo reflects on the busy weekend with pride.

"It's the most amazing feeling in the world. To watch this little boy and his grandmother just be so happy and their struggles are now gone. It's going to be easy for her and that's amazing."

"I want to give," Bontempo said. "Yes, everyone wants to make money but there are people out there that are struggling with real struggles. We want to give back to them."

Bontempo is in the process of starting a nonprofit, Grace Flagler, to help more people in the community. You can find more information on her Facebook page. 

Bontempo says half of the profits from the tavern's pool table and jukebox, as well as a portion of overall sales, will go to the charity.

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