‘Pizza & Prevention’ hits 10-year mark Saturday

PUNXSUTAWNEY — For the 10th straight year, Scott Anthony, owner of Fox’s Pizza Den in Punxsutawney, is sponsoring “Pizza and Prevention” from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

During Pizza and Prevention, Fox’s is offering a Big Daddy Pepperoni Pizza for only $9.11.

Along with the fund-raiser, “Touch the Truck” is back again this year with a twist, as the new $322,000 Elk Run fire engine — financed by the borough — will be delivered to the department today and on display Saturday with other Punxsutawney Fire Department equipment along South Findley Street.

Anthony said it’s hard to believe that the fund-raiser — in which all of the proceeds benefit the Punxsutawney Fire Department — is in its 10th year.

Anthony said “Pizza and Prevention,” which originated in Punxsy and has grown to be the department’s largest fund-raiser, has now been picked up by other pizza shops around the country to raise money for other local first responders.

“It’s amazing as to how generous everyone is, so much so, that we raised $30,000 in one day last year with all the proceeds going to the Punxsutawney Fire Department,” he said

The first event raised $6,000 10 years ago.

“After 9/11, I think we formed a true appreciation as to what the fire company does, even more so, with a volunteer fire company like we have here,” Anthony said. “Working with Tony Gianvito (the late Punxsy Fire Department president) 10 years ago, we thought it was something that we wanted to try to bring this event to our hometown.”

As part of the event, a member of the fire department will deliver pizza to customers’ doors, if they wish.

Elk Run Volunteer Fire Company President John Cochran said the department hosts other fund-raisers, such as the boot drives, but noted, “‘Pizza and Prevention’ does more in one day than our Old Home Week carnival, and is a lot less stress on the firemen.”

“The borough purchased the engine, but our fire company bought the Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) for the truck which is part of the new firefighting technology that is out there,” Cochran said. “Hopefully, it will save lives, the contents of someone’s house and at the same time put out the fire quicker so we can go home sooner.”

Scott Depp, Central Fire Department Chief, said the cost of equipment is always going up. Turnout gear pants and coats are $1,600 per set, for example, while a nozzle for the pre-connects is $795, and portable radios cost as much as $800.

“The prices are astronomical, and the prices continue to go up,” he said. “We need to raise funds to keep our firefighters safe and protect the public.”

“That’s the point of ‘Touch The Truck,’” Anthony said. “It’s not just for the kids; it’s for the adults, so they can see where all the money goes. Come and see how expensive this equipment is.”

Anthony said besides pizza, there’s also the prevention portion of the event. Matt Kengersky Nationwide Insurance is an integral part of the day, as the agency has purchased smoke detectors for the last eight years. Nationwide donates smoke detectors, while Wal-Mart donates the batteries.

In the last eight years, Kengersky has paid for approximately 3,000 smoke detectors that have been given away to the public.

Firefighters who deliver pizzas will check and replace the batteries on old smoke detectors or provide brand new detectors for those who don’t have one, Anthony said.

The number to call to order a pizza beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday is 938-4615.