BBQ fundraiser for Cleveland fire chief surpasses expectations, sells out

Randi Coats Anderson, wife of Cleveland Fire Chief Sean Anderson, is presented a packet holding $10,540.70 that will help the family cover expenses as Chief Anderson recovers from open heart surgery. The money was raised from the sale of barbecue at Bailey's Barbecue on Wednesday. Local businesses - Neal Funeral Home, Martin Chrysler, Good Promotions and Scott Shuff State Farm - matched a portion of the sales for Wednesday.

Firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMS personnel, and friends and family of Cleveland Fire Chief Sean Anderson packed a Cleveland restaurant on Wednesday to make donations and buy barbecue plates in support of Chief Anderson and his family.

Anderson has been hospitalized since May 19 after a medical emergency forced him to undergo open heart surgery. With his wife, Randi, unable to work at her regular job as a nurse, the family can use financial support from the community. Bailey’s Barbecue owners, Robby and Cindy Koon, organized the barbecue fundraiser with the help of local businesses – Neal Funeral Home, Good Promotions, Martin Chrysler and Scott Shuff State Farm.

The restaurant donated a portion of all sales on Wednesday to Anderson and supporting businesses matched the amount raised. On Friday, Randi Anderson tearfully accepted the proceeds, which totaled $10,540.70. Even though she was on hand on Wednesday to welcome people to the fundraiser, Randi said she had no idea that the sales had surpassed her expectation of $3,000 to $4,000.

On Wednesday, Randi gave Bluebonnet News an update on Sean’s medical condition.

“He’s off the ventilator and most of the IV drips. They were able to get him into a chair. He is aware of what’s going on but still is a little confused at times,” she said.

Randi Coats Anderson reacts when she learns the fundraiser barbecue for her family raised $10,540.70. Anderson said she was only expecting $3,000 to $4.000, so she was surprised to see the amount. The money will help the Anderson family as Cleveland Fire Chief Sean Anderson recovers from open heart surgery. Presenting the money to her is Robby Koons, owner of Bailey’s Barbecue of Cleveland.

She explained how she was unable to be with him for the first 10 days following his medical crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On Monday, they finally opened up visitation, so I was able to be with him for a few hours,” she said.

Originally she was told he would be in the hospital for 7-10 days, but Wednesday was Day 15, so his recovery time is uncertain.

His friends at the fire department are keeping things running in the meantime, but they are anxious for him to return.

“We miss him greatly and are looking forward to the time when he can come back. Sean is a mentor to us all. We know we can go to him with anything,” said Assistant Fire Chief Roger Brookes. “Whatever he and his family needs now, we are here for them.”

If you missed the fundraiser but still want to help out, a T-shirt fundraiser is still underway. The $20 T-shirts can be purchased by going online here:

Jerry Oliver (left) spend decades as a Cleveland Fire Department volunteer. Now retired and living in Coldspring, Oliver attended the fundraiser for Chief Sean Anderson and was greeted with a warm welcome by his peers, including Cleveland Fire Department’s Asst. Chief Roger Brookes (right).
Members of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office came out to support Cleveland Fire Chief Sean Anderson. Pictured left to right are Deputy Danielle Barry, Investigator Jeff Ashworth, Sheriff Bobby Rader, Deputy Zack Harkness, Cpl. James McQueen and Chief Deputy Don Neyland.
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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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