Recognizing Outstanding Community Service and Determination
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is pleased to honor four state finalists for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) 2019 Restaurant Awards! These state winners will be recognized during our Convention this coming September in Seaside. State finalists from across the U.S. are competing for the top three national awards and a chance to win $10,000 to continue their charitable works.
Congratulations to our 2019 Oregon winners:
NRAEF created the Restaurant Neighbor Award with founding partner American Express to highlight the positive contributions restaurants make in their local neighborhoods each and every day. The Faces of Diversity American Dream Award honors individuals from a diverse background who, through hard work and determination, have realized their American dream.
RESTAURANT NEIGHBOR AWARDS
Bentley's Grill, Salem
With a "no one gets left behind" philosophy, Bentley's Grill approaches every ask of support with a big heart and “can-do” attitude. Bentley’s supports over 200 different community events each year, from local schools and sports organizations to community and charitable foundations. Some of the organizations that benefit include the Boys and Girls Club, Liberty House, Family Building Blocks, Young Life, Friends of Pimpollo, Center for Hope and Safety, Marion and Polk Food Share, Salem Art Association and many more. With each of these events, the staff at Bentley's Grill enthusiastically volunteers their time and often their talents as well, helping make a difference to the people in their community.
Block 15 Brewing Company, Corvallis
At Block 15, they believe it is their social responsibility to give back to their community by fostering partnerships with charitable organizations, encouraging staff to volunteer their time and skills, and providing financial support for various programs. Block 15 strives to make a positive impact on the community by “supporting unaffiliated, nonprofit groups focusing on issues such as health and wellness, education, environmental sustainability, and the arts.” The company not only wants to provide financial support to local organizations but also understand the work they are doing. The People's Pint program has donated over $80,000 since inception in 2016, and the owners of Block 15 have contributed over $150,000 since opening the doors of the brewpub in 2008.
Known for a strong, humanitarian spirit, Mo’s Restaurants has long been providing funding, education, and community programs focused on enriching children’s lives. Within every Mo’s Restaurant is a designated Motivation for Kids table, generating funds for youth and adolescents of coastal communities. From implementing security shades in classrooms to funding school supply drives, and donating funds and food to support local graduating class celebrations and teacher conferences, Mo’s truly serves as a cornerstone of their communities. In the past year, overall donations from the Motivation for Kids project accounts for nearly $60,000 with a combined total of half a million dollars in the last decade.
FACES OF DIVERSITY AMERICAN DREAM AWARD
Luis Perez, Elmer's Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner (Corvallis)
Born and raised by a single mother in Guatemala, Luis Perez and his family faced a variety of obstacles, from struggling to afford shoes to keeping save in a neighborhood being taken over by drugs. When he turned 10, his mother arranged for Luis to serve as an apprentice, keeping him safely “on the right path” and eventually earning a small wage. After a major earthquake in Guatemala in 1976, Luis immigrated to the U.S. and quickly taught himself English by riding public transportation.
From the early start of his working years, Luis has always put forth an incredible work ethic and attention to detail. He challenged himself constantly, giving 100 percent to every employer, and was even credited for helping a small greeting card start-up grow from seven to 400 employees. In March 2004, Luis and his wife Patty opened Elmer's Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner in Corvallis, Oregon. The Perez’ have built a tremendous team with many long-term employees, recognizing the couple as “model citizens with really big hearts.” Under Luis’ leadership, the company actively gives back to their community, supporting numerous causes and helping inspire a giving spirit.