Marion Co community mourns Western Sizzlin's co-owner after deadly accident
Drive along Highway 28 in Jasper and you can't miss the Western Sizzlin'. It's also hard to miss the sign honoring its late co-owner Spencer Wayne.
"Going into that restaurant is gonna be different now," said Andy Winters; he's Wayne's cousin. He says when he got the call Monday afternoon about his death, he was in shock.
"He was more like my little brother than my first cousin," said Winters. "We hunted together, fished together, went to ball games together."
According to the Marion County Sheriff's Office, Wayne was working-out alone in his home Monday afternoon. An accident with a heavy barbell ended his life. Now family and friends are remembering Wayne as a servant to his hometown.
"If he could volunteer he would," said James Hunter. He says Wayne was a close family friend and like a brother to him.
"If there was anything he could do to help the community, he was absolutely all about it. He was always there to help you if he knew you or not."
News Channel 9 saw some of Wayne's generosity last week when local power crews from the Sequoyah Valley Electric Coop prepared to leave to the Carolinas to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. The Western Sizzlin' fed those crews before they took off.
"Anything to do with this community, he wanted to be a part of, he wanted to make it a better place," said Hunter.
They call it a freak accident and because of it, Spencer Wayne's loved ones have a message for anyone who chooses to work-out at home.
"Don't work out alone, it's very simple," said Hunter.
"Have a partner," said Winters. "If you have a friend that likes working out, let them come work out or at least spot you."
In the past, Wayne served as president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce. Friends and family say he was also a Mason. Western Sizzlin' is closed until Friday morning to mourn their loss.