Celebrities to the Rescue

Article Published: Mar. 8, 2012 | Modified: Apr. 4, 2012
Celebrities to the Rescue

‘Sqrambled Scuares’ host Buzz Berry serves food and laughs at last year’s Celebrity Serve fundraiser.

Photo by Kellen Moore

Celebrity Serve is returning for its seventh year to benefit another good cause in Watauga County.

On April 3, dozens of well-known personalities in and around the area will volunteer their time to help serve at participating restaurants in an effort to raise money for the Watauga County Emergency and Rescue Squad.

What originally began as a simple way to help fund unmet needs for hospice patients in Watauga County quickly evolved into an annual and highly anticipated event for many others.

The ongoing success of the one-day fundraiser is made possible through the generosity of local restaurant owners who agree to participate by donating at least 10 percent of their daily proceeds to the chosen beneficiary — and to the staff who donate tips and often work for free or minimum wage on that day.

In the past six years, Celebrity Serve has raised more than $175,000 for nonprofit organizations, including hospice, Make a Wish Foundation, High Country Soccer, the Hospitality House, Watauga Education Foundation and OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter).

This year’s event is coordinated by the recently formed Boone Independent Restaurant Association, which includes Pepper’s, Bandana’s and Makoto’s, whose owners, Jack and Lisa Pepper, Mary and Mike Hall and Gwen and Ronald Dhing, are charter members of the Celebrity Serve committee along with Tim Baxter and Sherrie Norris.

“We are proud to present the seventh annual Celebrity Serve event to benefit Watauga County Rescue Squad,” said John Pepper, co-founder of BIR. “The mission of BIR is to unite the independent restaurants in and around Boone to preserve the individuality of the community served by each member establishment, to improve quality, service and social responsibility of each one and to ensure the longevity of our member establishments.”

By bringing these locally owned establishments together for such a good cause so early in its formation, Pepper said, is a perfect way to prove its strength and support of community.

This year’s Celebrity Serve will include numerous dining options for lunch and dinner and a selection of raffles, including airfare and park-hopper tickets to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., tickets to Dollywood, gift certificates to select resorts and restaurants.

Having learned of the far-reaching effects of the Watauga County Rescue Squad and that its service could be impacted by recent budget cuts from the county, the event’s selection committee felt compelled to name the organization as this year’s beneficiary.

Celebrating its 50th year of service to Watauga County, the volunteer-staffed Watauga County Emergency and Rescue Squad Inc. is available to serve more than 45,000 residents within 313 square miles, 24 hours a day.

“We are the backup ambulance service and the primary rescue service (extrication, carryouts, searches, specialized rescue) for Watauga County,” said Randy Collins, chief. “Our nonpaid volunteers maintain and staff the fleet of three ambulances, two rescue trucks, one quick response vehicle, specialty rescue unit and associated equipment.”

Watauga Rescue Squad relies upon donations from the community and fundraisers for financial support.

Visit http://www.booneindependentrestaurants.org/celebserve.

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