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Gezzo makes donation to FOP lodge

A local charity recently received funds from a family-owned business, whose owner said he enjoys giving back to the community.

Howard Hsu, co-owner of West Coast Burritos Gezzo's Surf and Grille, located at 1866 Jonesboro Road, in McDonough, is working with H Magazine Publisher/Editor Lisa Kichen to highlight various charities in the area.

"We came up with an idea to raise money for local charities having community leaders invite their guest to enjoy a dish they created," said Hsu. He co-owns the business with his sister Anita Hsu. "Part of the proceeds raised would go to a charity of their choice."

"We are so blessed to live in a community that sincerely cares and gives back for the betterment of all," said Kichen. "The 13 leaders we chose are lending their time to raise money and bring awareness to the charities they love and support."

Henry County Police Deputy Chief Stoney Mathis was Gezzo's Celebrity Chef for June.

"I am humbled, and honored, to have been selected as a celebrity chef," said Mathis. " I want to do anything I can to give the community a positive outlook on law enforcement."

Deputy Chief Mathis created Argentinean grilled steak with Pacific shrimp to serve during a fund-raiser. He selected the Henry County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #95 as his charity.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge is a non-profit organization composed of law enforcement officers. Its motto is: "Bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community."

Mathis, along with members of the county's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, were on hand recently as the president of the charity, Sgt. Wayne Bender, received a check for $850 from Gezzo's.

The Henry County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge hosts a number of events in the community to raise funds. One of their most popular fund-raisers is an annual golf tournament, said Sgt. Bender.

"We're always glad to get money to help the children we support," said Bender. "We give away school supplies and book bags for students. We also have a Christmas children's program, and Sirens for Santa, where we take kids Christmas shopping."

Last Saturday, the police lodge gave away backpacks to students at Jason T. Harper event center in McDonough. The bookbag and backpack give-away was done in conjunction with Avalon Church, in McDonough, as part of a Connecting Henry project.

"It's not all about the criminal aspect of our job, such as getting the bad guys," said Detective Bess Baugh. "This is a way for people to see us beyond the badges and the sirens. We want them to see the human side of us, to see us as one of their neighbors. That's something most people are not taught to do," added Baugh. "You are born with that intent, to do good."

Members of police lodge also sponsor the Youth Leadership Academy. Organizers of the leadership academy hope to make it an annual event.

In addition, nearly 15 officers packed, delivered, and served food during an April Feed the Hungry campaign in Henry. Some were designated to Patrick Henry High School, others were at McDonough United Methodist Church.

Although the local police lodge is involved in several community programs "primarily what we do is, officers taking care of officers, for the betterment of the community," said Detective John Thacker.