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Have a Heart

February 11, 2012
By KIM LOCCISANO - Staff Writer ( , Times Leader


Check your calendar or handy scheduling device: you will find it is time to do something for someone else.

(Okay, it's never exactly a bad idea to do a little something nice for you too, particularly if it involves supporting the work of The American Heart Association while being able to enjoy great food through the nine DeFelice Bros. Pizza stores.)

Article Photos

It's time for the 29th Annual DeFelice Bros. Pizza Heart Shaped Pizza Sale Feb. 12,13 and 14, a major fund-raising effort held over a three-day period centered on Valentine's Day across the company's nine store locations in Ohio and West Virginia. Dom DeFelice was diagnosed with a heart problem as a youngster, providing a strong basis for his continued volunteer service in support of the American Heart Association and its local projects. DeFelice (center) is seen here with (left) Terry Koontz, a vice-president with the American Heart Association, and (right) John Rataiczak of the association's local branch organization. Rataiczak and his wife Melissa Rataiczak are again serving as chairs for the upcoming 2013 Heart Ball. The local organization has announced the ball will be held a year from now—on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013. The ball is a nearly 50-year fund-raising tradition, and the 2013 event is slated to receive special attention from the planners as they elected to allowed for a full year's time in which to prepare.

It's just about Valentine's Day 2012. You may be one of the many who often find the date arriving but have not found-or taken-the time to select, purchase and be ready to deliver a gift no one in their right mind could refuse.

It is the time to take decisive action that will show others you care and that you have good taste in gifts: donate to the American Heart Association by ordering DeFelice Bros. Pizza's unique heart shaped pizzas during their annual three-day long special fund-raiser set for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12, 13 and 14.

Every time a heart-shaped pizza has been purchased at Valentine's Day from DeFelice Bros. Pizza for 29 years, a dollar has been given to the American Heart Association to help advance the fight against heart disease.

It has been a labor of love and has literally given rise to a lot of dough for the benefit of a very good cause, with more than $35,000 generated for donation to The American Heart Association.

"We are all very proud of the amount of funding raised for the benefit of the work being done by The American Heart Association. Through the annual three-day sale of our special heart-shaped pizzas and the direct support we see from our customers for it at Valentine's Day, more than $35,000 has been put to work in the fight against heart disease," shared company founder and president Dominic DeFelice of Shadyside.

This year the special order heart-shaped pizzas will be sold to the public on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12, 13, 14 and can be ordered from all DeFelice Bros. Pizza locations.

The fund-raising tradition was initiated by DeFelice, who was himself diagnosed with a restrictive heart condition as a youngster. In recent years, he and his wife, Amy DeFelice, have served as Belmont County Heart Ball committee members as well as having served as past chairs of the local program's popular major fund-raising event.

The first year the heart-shaped pizza sale fund-raiser was conducted, the then fledgling business had only one location, an anchor store in Shadyside, and there was no ready access to heart-shaped pizza pans.

That logistical hiccup hardly slowed the project at all, as efforts were quickly made to craft or connect to the proper pizza bakeware forms-and in ample numbers-in time to hold the three-day fund-raising sale.

While DeFelice is proud to make the funds available through the three days of business set aside annually for selling the heart shaped pizzas, he is quick to recognize the import role customers have in the success of this annual fund-raising project.

The annual heart-shaped pizza sale is serving an additional fund-raising effort as the Heart Ball committee is focusing its efforts on the 2013 gala-an event that is moving toward its 50th anniversary year.

"The American Heart Association Ohio Valley Heart Ball is taking a year off to plan an unbelievable event in 2013," offered John Rataiczak, who along with his wife, Melissa Rataiczak, are chairing the gala event which is already set for Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013.

"Even though the Heart Ball is taking a year off, many organizations are still raising money for the American Heart Association this spring because of the important work they do," said Rataiczak, referring to the example being set by the continuing tradition of the annual fund-raising sale of heart-shaped pizzas through the nine DeFelice Bros. Pizza stores.

Terry Koontz, the vice president of Mid and Small Markets Central for the American Heart Association, shared the following message. "I want to thank Dominic DeFelice and his team for their support of the American Heart Association. We truly appreciate it. I also want to thank the community as a whole for its continued generosity to the American Heart Association."

DeFelice Bros. Pizza coupons, specials and more can be found at or on its Facebook page. All nine DeFelice Bros. Pizza store locations participate in the annual three-day fund-raising effort.

The company's store locations include Ohio: Martins Ferry, 740-635-7700; Shadyside, 740-676-8282; St. Clairsville, 740- 695-5090; Wintersville, 740- 264-9702; and in West Virginia: Bethlehem, 304-238-0200; Follansbee, 304-527-4992; Moundsville, 304-845-9300; National Road in Wheeling, 304-232-8999; and Weirton, 304-723-0980.



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