Last year, Otto’s Pub and Brewery owner Roger Garthwaite wanted to honor Sgt. Adam Hartswick for his service in Afghanistan and to help him and his family with medical expenses.
That’s how the 20-foot Christmas tree in the restaurant lobby came to be decorated with red, white and blue ribbons.
More than $13,000 was raised for Hartswick, a Pine Grove Mills native who lost his legs in an improvised explosive device attack. Hartswick is still recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
This year, instead of our national colors, the tree is being adorned in the universal color for breast cancer awareness — pink.
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Like last year, a $5 donation buys a ribbon for the tree. But this year, all proceeds will go to the Pennsylvania Pink Zone, a nonprofit that promotes awareness and supports local breast cancer organizations such as the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and hospitals in the area.
The organization also funds Mount Nittany Medical Center’s breast health navigator, a position that was created earlier this year to help patients to get the care they need — an advocate for access and treatment.
Pink Zone was chosen, in part, because 100 percent of the proceeds will stay in the area.
“That’s what we’re all about,” said Neil Tomnay, Otto’s merchandise manager and marketing associate. “It’s in keeping with our theme of keeping our products fresh and local.”
Tomnay’s grandmother was a two-time survivor of breast cancer, and, “Everyone — friends, family — seems to know someone” who’s been affected by breast cancer, he said.
The goal this year, Tomnay said, is to meet or exceed last year’s fundraising, so restaurant employees have made 4,000 ribbons.
Tributes can be written on the ribbons and you don’t even have to go to Otto’s to contribute. Pink ribbons can be purchased at ottospubandbrewery.com, and 100 percent still goes to the local Pink Zone.
“When we do fundraisers, we want to keep it in the community,” Tomnay said, “and Pink Zone guarantees the money will stay here.”