Fire trucks and Hamel Firefighters put on the miles on Sept. 23 as they pursued a temporary new profession, delivering hot food from Andy’s Hometowne Pizza, of Medina, to hungry families in Andy’s service area.
The occasion was a fundraiser for the Hamel Fire Department. Andy’s staff volunteered to make pizzas, chicken wings and salads to fulfill orders called in by fire department supporters. Firefighters revved up fire trucks and used them to deliver meals to people wanting to have real firefighters and trucks come to their doors.
Andy’s, located at 212 Clydesdale Trail, donated 20% of sales and all tips to Hamel Fire — $3,401. The amount was significant for a five-hour endeavor, 4 to 9 p.m.
Andy’s General Manager Crystal Korblick said her restaurant experienced its busiest night ever. “Our phones rang off the hook,” she said.
The cuisine and firefighter crews were so busy that the restaurant had to ask some customers to pick up their food. They still were able to check out a large fire engine parked outside Andy’s.
Towards the end of the evening, Andy’s had to turn away some customers, Korblick said. Regardless, some people came in and donated to the fire department.
A highlight for firefighters was discovery of a special pizza birthday party for the daughter of Justine Morneau, retired Minnesota Twin. Firefighters collected the large fire engine from outside Andy’s and brought it to the Morneau front door.
Firefighter Rowdy Dorweiler said he enjoyed the evening. “I met people under circumstances that are fun,” he said. “Usually we see them when they are having a bad day.”
Fire Chief Jeff Ruchti called the event “fun and educational.” He learned a lot about the pizza industry. Firefighters delivered food to an address in a neighborhood and then 10 minutes later turned around and delivered to an address in the same block.
Korblick, of Andy’s, said, “We love doing anything we can for our community.”
Owner Greg Snodgrass is a former Hanover Firefighter. When he opened Andy’s in Albertville, he wanted to use the restaurant to give back to the local fire department. The Albertville establishment has hosted a firefighter night for seven years, and now Medina has hosted its first firefighter fundraiser.
Everything on the menu from bread sticks to chicken wings and more was available to customers. The exception was the 30-inch Monstrosity Pizza, which requires 30 minutes of prep time and five minutes of baking time, Korblick said.
She expected the Hamel Fire Department fundraiser to be an annual event, the Monday after Medina Celebration Day in September. “It was really cool to see everyone come together,” she said.
The first time was a learning experience for Korblick. Next year Andy’s will publicize the fact that people can come to the restaurant to see a fire engine, something that was not well known this year.
Also, she plans to have a white board that shows what delivery addresses are in the same neighborhood. This would cut down on repeat fire engine trips to the same area within a short period of time.