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Community Comes Together to Support Local Inn

Jun 3 2014

by Anna Ferguson Hall

The Blue Heron Inn was a staple bed and breakfast locale in coastal Georgia, offering a step back in time to when life was slower, when time passed as gently as a sweet southern wind and when ice tea was brewed with sunshine, over the course of a day.

Tragically, on May 4, this authentic, lovely inn met a harsh end: it burned. Not totally to the ground, but enough to cause the business to shutter its doors for an unknown period of time. The fire fully engulfed the garage and was moving into the large living room area on the main floor and the guest rooms upstairs, taking some 30 volunteer firefighters to extinguish the flames. No one was injured in the fire, which was declared an electrical fire caused by golf cart charger in the garage of the home. What’s worse is that, not only did the town of Darien (and its guests) lose the cozy coastal hide away, but inn owners Jan and Bill Chamberlain also lost their home.

But in true Southern survivor spirit, hope abounds in this tight-knit community. Darien and Golden Isles business owners came out to show the Chamberlains they are not alone. A fundraising event for the Chamberlain family was organized on Monday, June 2, with area residents, business owners and former guests of the inn invited to join in an uplifting evening of music, food and fun along the Darien waterfront at Skippers Fish Camp.

“The inn had a big impact on regional tourism, and we want to keep the energy they produced flowing,” said Britni Johnson, executive assistant for the Darien-McIntosh Chamber of Commerce, who has been a central figure in making arrangements for the event along with the Friends of Jan and Bill organization.

During the community celebration, live music from local favorites echoed over the marsh, as guests dined on classic southern grub and played in friendly competition with the corn hole tournament. Dozens of silent auction items were donated for the event, helping raise additional funds for the Chamberlain fund.

“Basically, this is going to be a great night to bring lots of love and support to the family, to show we are here for them,” Johnson said. “What happened to their inn is tragic, but this will be a fun night with great food, music and more. It’s nice that we can all come together like this to show our support.”

While the event was deemed a major success, extra support is still needed for the Blue Heron Inn family. Supporters can also make donations online, by visiting gofundme.com/918h3w, and searching for Blue Heron Inn Recovery Fund.

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