Co-workers raise money for woman shot at Denny's - FOX Carolina 21

Co-workers raise money for woman shot at Denny's

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The sign outside the Denny's restaurant in Boiling Springs. (July 28, 2012/FOX Carolina) The sign outside the Denny's restaurant in Boiling Springs. (July 28, 2012/FOX Carolina)
Deputies say Marcelino Rivarra shot his estranged wife in the parking lot of the Boiling Springs Denny's restaurant. (File/Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office) Deputies say Marcelino Rivarra shot his estranged wife in the parking lot of the Boiling Springs Denny's restaurant. (File/Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office)
BOILING SPRINGS, SC (FOX Carolina) -

According to Spartanburg County deputies, two months ago 39-year-old Carmela Rivera was shot in the head by her estranged husband while she was working at the Denny's restaurant in Boiling Springs.

Rivera survived the attack, and Saturday her co-workers stepped forward to help her recover.

Friends said Rivera is doing fine, but now she faces new problems. She was not insured at the time of the attack, and has been out of work for two months healing from her gunshot wounds.

Her co-workers are asking for the community's help to get a woman they say everyone loved back on her feet. Carmela Rivera worked at Denny's for seven years as a cook and had a good reputation.

"When she would see customers come in the door, she would immediately know what they wanted," said Dale Johnson, district manager for Denny's in South Carolina.  

"She was an amazing cook and she was great with the customers," said the Boiling Springs Denny's General Manager Selena Carter. "She loved her job."

Now, employees say the restaurant isn't the same. Rivera hasn't been able to return to work since authorities said she was shot three times by estranged husband 49-year old Marcelino Rivarra in the parking lot of the restaurant in May. It was an incident her co-workers said they never saw coming.

"I was very shocked, this is such a family restaurant and it's just a low-key shop," said Johnson.  

Saturday her co-workers, including those who were working the day she was attacked, were determined to turn this tragedy into something positive. They hosted a benefit to bring the community's families closer to together, and get Rivera healthy and back to the Denny's kitchen.

"We want her to have a very happy, healthy life," said Johnson. "We want her back at Denny's as soon as she is able and can get back."  

The restaurant managers said the community has been very supportive and that people came forward to help the family the day after the shooting. The Boiling Springs Denny's, located near the intersection of Highway 9 and Interstate 85, will continue to accept donations at that location to benefit the family.

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