ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. — Pitmaster Gil Horn has been cooking for about 15 years. BBQ is his passion.
“My specialty is ribs, chicken and of course the brisket," Horn told 10 Tampa Bay.
In April of 2019, he opened his business, Georgia Big Bozys in Zephyrhills.
“I took my bumps and bruises out there. It was difficult. But I hung in there. I had people coming in the door, loving the food.”
Another bump for Horn, COVID-19 hitting just after working the Strawberry Festival. He was able to store and lock up his smoker on the grounds.
At the end of June, just when Horn was able to start up his business again, he got a call saying that thieves had stolen his smoker. Horn says, “I was devastated. That’s my whole livelihood.”
The smoker was found bashed in and rusted in Lakeland.
“They stole it at 6:04 in the morning. No one’s been apprehended.” Horn says. "No one has ever come in and given me anything. I’ve worked hard to get what I’ve got.” Without the smoker, he says, “It left me with no help and no resources.”
He’s lost his restaurant and his house.
“They’ve put me out of business.” He also worries about those less fortunate.
“I do a lot of charity work. I feed about a thousand people every Thanksgiving and Christmas. You come to my restaurant, you didn’t even have to have a dime. If you was hungry, I fed you.”
Now Horn is the one needing help. “I have nothing. I’m crying out to the community for help. I need all of the help I can get.”
If you can help, a Gofundme page has been set up.
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