Bayfield residents have come together to support Woody Swazey, owner of the Baked restaurant, by raising nearly $8,500 through a GoFundMe account after a health complication forced him to close shop a few weeks ago.
“I’ve been blessed to be in such a small community and having such wonderful customers and such a great community to gather and rally around us,” Swazey said in a phone interview Monday.
A few weeks ago, Swazey was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and spent a week in the hospital. He was having liquid buildup around his heart and lungs.
“The doctors aren’t actually sure when I went into it,” he said.
He had been having trouble for a while but put off going to the doctor, until his staff and others said he needed to go see a doctor.
“My staff is like family, as well as some of the other business owners in the plaza where we’re at, and they kind of had a little intervention with me,” Swazey said. “They told me ‘Hey, you’re going to go see the doctor this afternoon.’”
Longtime friend and employee Katelynn McCullough started the GoFundMe page to help her boss in his time of need. She said he’s always giving, and felt the community has stepped up to reciprocate in his time of need.
“He donates to and does all sorts of great things for the schools, and for people around the area. He’s helped a lot of people through their hard times,” McCullough said. “The community has really helped us by donating so much.”
Swazey has owned Baked for nine years, and McCullogh has worked with him for six of those years. McCullogh said her mother has worked with Swazey at Baked even longer than that.
McCullough said Swazey has been a Bayfield resident for about 30 years. Before he owned his own business, he spent a number of years working for Brenda’s Old West Cafe in Bayfield.
“He’s done a couple other jobs but mostly everything he’s done is centered around cooking, which is his passion,” McCullough said.
Before heading back to work, Swazey must meet with a cardiologist to make sure he’s well enough.
Proceeds from the GoFundMe drive will go toward paying employees and keeping the restaurant afloat while Swazey is away.
“I’ve never been in a situation before where I needed people to reach out and help me,” Swazey said. “It’s been an adjustment for me to be the one receiving the help, but with everything we’ve been going through the past couple of years it’s a real blessing to see that everybody out there still cares about each other.”