Salt Life thanks first responders for service during Hurricane Matthew


Salt Life Food Shack in St. Augustine Beach offered a heartfelt “thank you” last week to the first responders who served throughout Hurricane Matthew, treating local law enforcement and public safety personnel to free lunch or dinner at the beachfront restaurant.

As storm recovery and clean-up activities continued across the First Coast, dozens of police officers, sheriff’s deputies, highway patrol troopers and other public safety personnel enjoyed a brief respite from their duties Oct. 14, gathering atop Salt Life’s rooftop dining deck for a complimentary buffet. First responders had the option of enjoying lunch or dinner depending on their work schedules.

General Manager Marcos Jovel said Salt Life Owner Jeff Jabot wanted to show his appreciation for the many first responders who worked tirelessly throughout the storm. Despite its beach location, Jovel said, the restaurant sustained little damage “thanks to about 800 sandbags and some duct tape!”

“We were blessed,” Jovel said, “and we just kind of wanted to thank the people who helped bring us back to normality.”

First responders appreciated the restaurant’s gratitude and hospitality.

“It’s amazing – it’s very nice of them,” said Highway Patrol Trooper Devin Moeler while eating lunch with Trooper Scott Miller.

Both Moeler and Miller worked 12-hour overnight shifts the week of the storm, pitching in to clear the roads of debris and downed trees.

“I was the only one who brought a chain saw,” Moeler quipped.

In St. Augustine Beach, flooding was a major issue, police officers William Patterson and Paul Abel said. Based temporarily out of St. Joseph’s Academy, police quickly returned to St. Augustine Beach to assess the damage and maintain order.

“We were driving through the neighborhoods, keeping an eye on things and just being a presence,” Patterson said.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Deputies Skip Braasch and Dell Burkes, meanwhile, worked throughout the storm in the Julington Creek area, where fallen trees and downed power lines were the major problem. They also thanked Salt Life for recognizing their service.

“It’s wonderful they did this,” Braasch said. “It’s a good time.”