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Vice President, Membership & Marketing
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PRESS & MEDIA
Last Friday morning Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien, Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello and House Majority Leader John DeSimone forgave their suit jackets for aprons and pens for coffee pots.
The officials became servers for a fundraiser hosted by the Rhode Island Hospitality Association (RIHA) and Mattiello for St. Vincent DePaul Emergency Food Center and the Rhode Island Hospitality Association Education Foundation. The Education Foundation’s works to promote and support career growth within the hospitality industry. St. Vincent’s was Mattiello’s choice of charity for the event.
“I thought it was good to pair the St. Vincent’s charity with this event,” Mattiello said. “What better way to support hospitality than to recognize those that are serving our most vulnerable and feeding our disadvantaged.”
DeSimone noted that everyone was in a good mood helping to raise money for both causes.
“It’s nice to see so many friends and the community come together for this,” he said.
The event, which sold out, hosted 160 people for breakfast at Gregg’s Restaurant. Every table was filled and, thanks to the mayors, Mattiello and DeSimone, all the mugs were filled with coffee.
Avedisian joked, “I have been doing whatever they have been telling me to. I started off as a busboy, but I have been promoted, as you can see, to pouring coffee.”
Avedisian said he was quick to jump on for the fundraiser. He and Dale Venturini, president and CEO of RIHA, are longtime friends, and he was happy to do his part to help.
“This is always fun to see so many people, from so many different places, come together for a good cause,” Avedisian said.
Warwick’s mayor poured coffee for Robert Brooks, a managing partner at Adler Pollock and Sheehan law firm.
Brooks said, “They’ve done an excellent job with this event. We were happy to come out to support these causes. Plus, it’s not every day you can get your coffee poured by a mayor, the speaker of the house and majority leader. It’s just been a lot of fun.”
Gregg’s staff as well as students from Exeter Job Corps assisted the officials in their duties throughout the morning.
At the end of the breakfast, Venturini shared that the fundraiser raised nearly $8,000, which was then split evenly for both the Education Foundation and St. Vincent’s.
Bob Bacon, owner of Gregg’s Restaurants, thanked everyone for coming.
He said, “This here is proof that private enterprise and government can work together to make a positive impact.”
Avedisian commended the owner, saying, “Bob Bacon is one of the leading restaurateurs in charity work. He and everyone else here at Gregg’s work year-round to give back to this community.”
Venturini had the last remarks of the morning, where she committed herself and RIHA to helping Mattiello to get Rhode Island “back on the right track.”
She said, pointing to the numerous workers and students helping for the breakfast, “We have these amazing students working hard to be the best employees they can be when they enter into the work force.”
“We will be by your side to help you push forward economic recovery for Rhode Island,” Venturini said to Mattiello.
For more information on RIHA visit their website at www.rihospitality.org.