PITTSBURGH — When you’re good, you’re good, such is the case with Scott Anthony, owner of Fox’s Pizza Den in Punxsutawney, was awarded the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association’s (PR&LA) Good Neighbor Award last Sunday at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel.
2013 has been a busy year for Anthony. First, he was named 2012 Man of the Year at the Groundhog Banquet on Feb. 1; then the National Restaurant Association appointed him to the Pizza Industry Council; and now he was the recipient of the Restaurant Neighbor Award from the PR&LA.
According to the PR&LA program, “The Neighbor award raises awareness about the restaurant industry’s contributions in local communities across the country.”
James Purdum, Penn State Hospitality Services, presented the award and said the Restaurant Neighbor Award was created 15 years ago by the National Restaurant Association (NRA), which honors restaurants in the field of outstanding community service.”
“Scott Anthony, owner of Fox’s, was selected as a state winner for its annual Pizza & Prevention campaign, which supports and honors firefighters in the community,” Purdum said.
“Ninety percent of restaurants are actively involved in community activities, and this award highlights the positive contributions restaurants make in their local neighborhoods each and every day,” Purdum said.
He said since 2002, Fox’s Pizza Den has been holding “Pizza & Prevention” an event to honor firefighters in the community. “Pizza & Prevention” is held annually on the first Saturday in October which coincides with Fire Prevention Week.
“On that day, Fox’s sells its pizzas for $9.11, with the proceeds going directly to the Punxsutawney Fire Department,” said Purdum, adding that on Pizza & Prevention day, Punxsutawney firefighters take the orders and deliver the pizzas.
Purdum said while delivering the pizza, firefighters also perform safety checks to make sure that smoke detectors are functioning properly, and they also will replace the batteries in any detector that is need of a changeover.
“In the last eleven years, Fox’s Pizza Den has donated over $170,000 for equipment upgrades, as well as over 3,000 smoke detectors to the community during Pizza & Prevention,” Purdum said.
He said the four national winners of the 2013 Restaurant Neighbor Award will each receive a $5,000 contribution to continue their community programs and be presented with the awards in April in Washington, D.C.
Both national and state winners will be recognized on the National Restaurant Association website, Purdum said.
Founded in 1937, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association represents more than 7,500 Pennsylvania foodservice and lodging establishments located across the commonwealth.
Pennsylvania’s hospitality industry plays an integral role in the state’s economy, employing more than 960,000 people and generating revenues of more than $42 billion annually.
Anthony said he was surprised that he was chosen for such a prestigious award.
“To be selected as one of the four restaurants in Pennsylvania is quite an honor,” Anthony said, adding that the amount of money raised by “Pizza and Prevention” illustrates what can be done if you work at it.
“One of things that I got out of the presentation was how much PR&LA
liked how the firefighters helped with the event, in making the pizzas and delivering them,” he said. “It really helps to introduce the members of the fire department to the community through the fundraiser, so the public gets to know them on a different level and show their appreciation to the department and how they give up their time to serve the community.”
Anthony said when it comes to organizing a fundraiser, it is a balancing act.
“There are certain organizations that we hold dear, and we really put forth an effort and try to treat everybody equally and you just do what you can,” Anthony said. “I just want to thank everyone in the community for supporting the various fundraisers we do and thanks to PR&LA for choosing Fox’s for this high honor.”