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When Matt Elgiar and Jake Guevara offered the city of Celina their help, they probably did not anticipate a grueling, exhausting, draining, sweat-inducing, five-hour battle with weeds.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Both are managers at the under-construction Bongo Beaux’s Bourre Palace & Cajun Kitchen, slated for a mid-September opening at 218 W. Walnut St. near the downtown square.

The group has a long history of aiding the communities in which they operate. In fact, the company’s mission says, in part, that its facilities “provide a place for celebration and fellowship as well as sanctuary for the weary to reflect and rejuvenate.” That includes closing some restaurants to the public on days like Thanksgiving and serving free meals to people and families in need.

While still building Bongo Beaux, and hiring personnel to staff it, the company made its usual and customary offer to the municipality – “let us know how we can help.” And, that legacy of service is the place from which Elgiar and Guevara offered their help to Celina.

The city's community relations manager Jessica Matehuala quickly remembered their offer when the Code Enforcement Department cited an elderly woman for high weeds at her uninhabited property. Rather than allow the citation process to proceed to adjudication, Matehuala called Elgiar and asked if he and his co-manager would be able to help the owner, a 94-year-old Celina resident with few options. The two agreed, sight unseen, to mow the yard and help the elderly owner avoid a fine.

Little did they know what awaited them.

Not only was the temperature topping the 90s, the overgrown grass and weeds were nearly as tall as the two men. The lawnmower and edger they had arrived with would be no match for the imposing foliage.

Elgiar recalls the sense of foreboding.

“We knew right away that we were going to need a larger mower,” paraphrasing the famous line from “Jaws.”

The two reached into the bygone days of trailblazing by grabbing a pair of machetes and swinging the sharp blades with enough force to bring the vegetation down to size.

At the end, it took five hours, 30 water bottles, several breaks in their air-conditioned truck with the fan at full blast, when they finally declared victory.

“We had brambles and stickers in our beards, in our noses, and a few bites from unknown bugs, but we finished it.”

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