Feb. 11, 2009
Organic pizza chain Pizza Fusion successfully raised more than $18,000 for the Smith family, victims of a tragic drunk driving accident that took the lives of their two sons, C.J., 6, and Nolan, 11, in January.
Pizza Fusion's new Mesa location originally raised more than $8,000 for the family at its grand opening, before losing the money to burglars later that night. Pizza Fusion's headquarters launched a national campaign to re-raise the funds lost during the burglary.
"Raising money, while it won't erase the personal loss they're experiencing, is the least we could do for the Smith family," said Vaughan Lazar, president and co-founder of Pizza Fusion.
"Thanks to some very generous hearts and the collective help of everyone at Pizza Fusion, we were able to regenerate more than the amount of money that was stolen," he said. "We hope this money helps the Smiths on the path to healing, both physically and mentally, from this horrible tragedy."
The Smith parents are still recovering from medical injuries due to the accident. The father of the two boys, Frank Smith, must undergo eye surgery to attempt to save his vision, while mother Traci has a broken pelvic bone and other medical concerns.
The money raised for the Smith family was the result of numerous individual and corporate donors, including Bay State Milling, Grande Cheese, Still Riding Pizza, the American Distribution Alliance and Escalon Premier Brands.
Pizza Fusion set up a donation form on its Web site in addition to partnering with Wells Fargo, which created a fund for the Smith family.
"I can't thank all the donors enough for their generosity and kindheartedness. I have personally witnessed how much the love and support Frank and Traci Smith received has meant to them," said Jennifer Parks, managing partner of Mesa's new Pizza Fusion and step-cousin to Traci Smith. "They have a long road of healing ahead of them, and their lives will never be the same, but at least we have been able to show them how much love they still have in their lives along with two very special angels always watching over them."