LIMA — It was a night of food and celebration at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center in downtown Lima on Thursday night. The crowd on the Civic Center patio was treated to a performance from ‘Beer Barrel Boys’ as a part of the Curtain Call summer concert series.
John Heaphy, the owner of the beloved local pizza chain that he named his band after, was in for a surprise during their performance. The Civic Center foundation took a moment to recognize Heaphy for his philanthropy and contributions to the building and the entire Lima community. He served on the Civic Center foundation board for 10 years, all as a volunteer.
Heaphy is still an active sponsor and supporter of the Civic Center, buying tickets to shows and attending events.
“(John) continues to support the arts even though he’s not on the board anymore,” said Civic Center CEO Abe Ambroza. “That’s always great for us to see, not just the financial support, but the actual physical support is always a booster for us.”
When recognized by the foundation, it was clear that the Civic Center still has a special place in Heaphy’s heart.
“So many people do so many things and volunteer service time and so many things get done by people,” Heaphy said. “Our community belongs to the people who live here, so give up yourself in lots of different ways. But the Civic Center has been so important to the community here, and if you don’t think so, we sure missed it last year.”
Heaphy has played an instrumental role in supporting the Civic Center, and now he is providing help when the people there need it most. Recently, the Civic Center stage suffered water damage and is in need of repair to continue indoor performances. Bringing a crowd out to the Curtain Call series could help solve that problem, as the cash bar and donations from the patio concerts are bringing awareness and fundraising toward the issue.
“John has done a lot for the community and the Civic Center,” said foundation development coordinator Carmen Cecala-Wells. “Just giving his time and his great ideas and extra effort is really appreciated.”
Heaphy helped bring Curtain Call to life, through his philanthropy and his performances, and Lima’s growing art scene is benefiting from those contributions.
“All of us (are) working together to try to really make sure that the art scene doesn’t just die and fizzle out five years from now,” Ambroza said. “It’s going to keep growing and getting bigger and stronger and people are going to be saying ‘hey, what’s going down in Lima? That’s pretty cool.’”
Reach Trevor Hubert at 567-242-0398