LOCAL FOLKS: Sherman couple gives thanks by giving more

SHERMAN – Preparing hundreds of meals each week is nothing new for Gerald and Becky Hegan, owners of Cravin’ Catfish restaurant in Sherman.
However, what the couple did last week in preparing Thanksgiving dinner for the entire community held a different purpose and offered a different menu.
“God has blessed us, and we were trying to give back to people what God has given to us,” Gerald Hegan said.
The Hegans prepared enough traditional Thanksgiving fare – turkey and dressing, ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, several varieties of cobbler pies, ice cream and a drink – to serve about 800 guests. They served at least a couple hundred folks, but they had enough to accommodate an additional 200 if needed.
This was the first time Gerald and Becky Hegan provided a Thanksgiving meal for the community, an idea that originated with Becky, Gerald said.
“God first put the vision in her heart, and when she mentioned it to me, I said let’s do it,” he said.
The undertaking was more challenging than they expected and they worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving preparing, with Becky Hegan and Pat Bedford cooking all the food.
Before moving into the more spacious restaurant on Cemetery Lane that can seat up to 700, Cravin’ Catfish was located in a smaller facility across town that seated about 200, Gerald Hegan said.
Started about two years ago, he said the business has grown at a much faster pace than they ever anticipated.
“We opened Oct. 11, 2007,” he said. “In December 2008 all you could hear was doom and gloom, but God doesn’t know anything about doom and gloom. In January 2009 we had our best month ever, then better in February and March and on until now.”
As they opened their arms and hearts to give hospitality to community members in need, they found more than enough volunteers who wanted to help.
“We probably had about a hundred people to contact us,” Gerald Hegan said. “We had to start telling some to just come and join us for dinner and act as backup if we needed it, because we could only use so many.”
They even received calls from some people who could afford to go out to a restaurant for a meal, but wanted the fellowship of the community meal event.
“There are people who are alone, have no family or their family is out of town and just wanted to come and fellowship, but said they would pay for their dinner,” Gerald Hegan said. “We told them to just come and fellowship with us, and if they wanted to give a donation that would be fine.”

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal