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Red Lodge restaurant staff left homeless from flooding

Red Lodge restaurant staff left homeless
Posted at 10:37 AM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 12:37:59-04

RED LODGE — One week after the damaging flood ran through Red Lodge, many are left trying to figure out where to go from here. That includes many employees at Prerogative Kitchen, nearly half of their employees lost their homes to the flooding.

The floodwaters in Red Lodge turned streets into rivers and poured into homes, businesses and any building in its path.

Gena Burghoff is one of three owners at Prerogative Kitchen in downtown Red Lodge. The restaurant was just starting to prepare for the summer rush when Rock Creek spilled its banks. The flooding left six of the restaurant’s 15 employees homeless.

“One guy had to knock his way out of a window because the water was coming in with such force and he literally lost everything,” said Burghoff Monday.

That employee was Taylor Monfort-Eaton. He gave MTN News a tour of the damage last week.

“I dug out a shoe from under the water, put it on, gave it 3 or 4 solid kicks and water just started pouring in," said Monfort-Eaton Friday.

Burghoff is now helping Monfort-Eaton and her other employees with places to stay. She arranged for camper trailers to be brought in from Cody, Wyoming and is housing some of her workers on her property.

“Which are great for temporary but with the housing crisis we just need permanent housing,” said Burghoff.

And Prerogative Kitchen isn’t just helping its employees. It offered its whole menu for free on Friday for anyone who needed it while accepting donations for their employees, raising about $1,000 for them.

The restaurant is also a part of a gift card brigade to help businesses in town. People can donate or purchase a $50 gift card to a business and Burghoff will distribute those to the Red Lodge community and surrounding areas.

Although Burghoff is worried about her own business, she is still doing everything possible to help those around her.

“Oh you don’t have a choice. You know? I mean when you see all of your friends struggling on that east side of town and they’re losing their incomes, a lot of those basements that were affected were basement apartments there’s literally nowhere for people to go. So you just have to pull through,” said Burghoff.