Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner continues family volunteering tradition

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 11:12 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2023 at 7:12 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Greg Vance knows his way around a kitchen. The longtime Jonesboro owner of Bistro on the Ridge learned how to cook growing up watching his Dad, Gene, and working in the family business called, “Grant’s Place.”

“We learned from the best!” Gene Vance, Greg’s father said. “Dad was always giving and volunteering.”

And like his grandfather, Greg has found no shortage of ways to step up and help.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” Martha Tolson said. Tolson nominated Greg Vance for the Gr8 Acts of Kindness. “Greg has been taught by the example of his parents and grandparents over the years.”

Whether it’s cooking for a few or thousands...

“We cooked for over 2,000 last year,” Greg said.

Vance stepped up to help at the Jonesboro Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

“It was over 70 gallons of potatoes, 85 gallons of green beans. What was it? About 500 pounds of turkey,” Greg said.

And volunteers deliver the meal.

“Some of the ones that are delivering... they see places people are living and stuff. It’s eye-opening!” Greg said. “We don’t realize the conditions people are living in.”

Vance worked nearly 48 hours straight to make sure anyone who wanted it could have a hot meal on Thanksgiving.

“He’s always thinking about others,” Charlotte Myers, Greg’s aunt said.

Even when he was a child.

“He always gave 100 percent even when he was small,” Myers said. “He wanted to help anybody.”

And especially children growing up today.

He closed his restaurant in 2020 and caters now.

“Any event that people don’t want their leftovers, we donate it to City Youth Ministries,” Greg said.

He even gets kids to eat healthy foods.

“Kids love salad,” Greg explained. “They’re not used to getting it at home.”

During the pandemic, he felt like kids needed an outlet.

“So we had a tube and we were passing the candy down to the cars to keep the six-foot distance,” Greg explained.

A Halloween display was born...and this past year... a ghostly pirate ship!

“He loves to see the looks on their faces,” Martha Tolson said.

Then he started feeding the crowds that showed up.

“We had 900 hotdogs. We had an excess of 900 people go through here,” Tolson said.

“Last year, we added the pirate ship, and the pirate ship was supposed to be you know... 20 to 25 feet long. It ended up being 37 feet long!” Greg said.

All the bigger to help kids have fun for free.

And that is why you are the next winner in the Gr8 Acts of Kindness,” I tell Greg. I count $408 dollars into his hand.

Allen Williams, community president of First Community Bank presents a keepsake check to remind Greg of the honor he has just won.

Greg Vance is a volunteer who believes in giving back to a community his family helped to build.