On Jan. 30, 2021, during what was already a difficult year for businesses in downtown Butler, a fire affected four local businesses including Reclamation Brewing Company, a family-owned brewpub. A dozen local fire companies helped put out the blaze.
As the proprietor of Don Paul Jewelers, a family-run jewelry store, Brother Don Paul, 33°, Argyle Lodge No. 540, Chicora, understood the challenges of running a business and what it would take to get these businesses with major smoke and water damage back in working order.
He and his wife, Sherrie, organized a takeout spaghetti dinner and fundraiser for the affected sites and the fire companies who battled the blaze, many of which were volunteer units. We Valiant Few, a local patriotic group run by Don’s son, Brother Mike Paul, 32°, MSA, Argyle Lodge No. 540, assisted with ticket and food sales. Held at another of Don’s businesses, local performance and event space The Venue On Main, the take-out dinner and subsequent raffle for prizes donated by local businesses – everything from gift cards to kids’ games – raised $12,380 over two days. They split the funds between the four damaged businesses and the 12 fire companies.
The overall fundraiser was Sherrie’s idea. They included the firefighters since fire companies canceled typical fundraisers in 2020 due to COVID-19. They also saw their hard work firsthand when handing out Subway sandwiches and cases of water to those working on the scene in 18-degree weather.
“I said ‘Even if we can give $1,000 a piece, it can help with something,’ ” Don said.
He credits the support from other community organizations, including the Butler County Chamber of Commerce, for the event’s success. A former school board member for the Western Pennsylvania Children’s Dyslexia Center in New Castle, Don has always held charity work close to his heart.
“We always try to give back to the community,” he said.