Community Rallies Around Restaurant Owner and His Family

October 14, 2018 07:10 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- A small town is coming together to support a local business owner and his family. Matthew Brown moved to Harmony three years ago to start his family is his wife’s hometown, "We were going to be mom and dad with our first born Estelle," said Matthew.


Estelle was born in July 2015, and just a week before her birth, Matthew opened a restaurant, "We named the restaurant after her and my grandmother’s name was Estelle," said Matthew.

Last year, Matthew and his wife Heidi welcomed another baby girl to the family named Gabby, "We've talked about actually making one room into ‘Gabby's lounge,’” said Matthew. He says Gabby has a wonderful personality.

"She’s the best. Her demeanor and personality are a blessing. She is she is the happiest baby. She really is," said Matthew.

Her personality has been a shining light during a difficult time, "She had a fever and some bruising. She's a kid so it's not that big of a deal, but then it didn't go away," said Matthew.

He decided to take her to Mayo Clinic Hospital Saint Marys Campus, "She was diagnosed [Friday]. It is AML leukemia," said Matthew.

Gabby will go through chemotherapy for the next five to six months, "We'll be living in the hospital, my wife and I, basically for the next six months or so," said Matthew.

Matthew never thought about closing the restaurant during this time, "Not for a second. I have amazing employees that stepped up and they have my back," said Matthew.

Employees like Shelley Wahl, "It's the nice thing about how close we are that he puts his trust in us and knows we can handle the restaurant while he is taking care of his family," said Shelley.

A family the Shelley and other employees have grown to know and love, "We're so close with the relationship we have with the family, Matt and Heidi and Stella and Gabby. We were there was Gabby was born. It was devastating to hear this,” said Shelley.

The restaurant staff and the community in Harmony are working to help Matthew’s family in any way they can.

"Part of the reason we moved to this town, this small town is to be a part of a community. Just through social media, cards, letter, hugs, and prayers, everybody is pulling for my little girl."

Matthew’s family has started a GoFundMe page where people can help support Gabby’s medical bills. To donate click here:


Talia Milavetz

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