Buffalo Wild Wings helps out a Buckeye in need

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 Messenger photo by Dianne Garrett

Buffalo Wild Wings officially opened at Town and Country Shopping Center in Whitehall May 1.  Pictured from left at the ribbon- cutting ceremony are Nick Grams, general manager; Jennifer Marshall; Steve Wheaton; Mayor John Wolfe; Tiffany Makely, vice president of the Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce; Tim Hill, trustee of the Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce; and Gary Kinman, uncle of Dan Potokar, an Ohio State football player undergoing cancer treatment. Restaurants in Whitehall and elsewhere held silent auctions to help the athlete’s family with medical expenses.

 
The buffalo mascot, AC Collier, works the long lines in front of Buffalo Wild Wings in the Town and Country Shopping Center in Whitehall during the grand opening May 1.  People lined up at 7 p.m. the previous night and camped out for a chance to be included in the first 100 customers to go through the doors to receive free wings for a year.  Pictured with the buffalo are Danny Jordan, 4, and his brother, David, 6, of Bexley. 

The long-awaited opening of Buffalo Wild Wings at 3920 East Broad Street in the Town and Country Shopping Center in Whitehall was celebrated May 1 during a grand opening event that also served a good cause.  

Attendees celebrated the fighting spirit  of OSU football wide receiver Dan Potokar, 21, who was diagnosed last fall with testicular cancer.  

Several area Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants, including Whitehall’s, had a silent auction at 8 p.m. to raise money in order to help the Potokar family with medical expenses.  The Grove City resident is the son of Nanette Kinman and Dan Potokar.

On hand at the opening were Cynthia and Gary Kinman, Potokar’s aunt and uncle.  Their nephew was in the process of receiving stem cells in Indianapolis after chemotherapy failed.  

During the event, Cynthia periodically snapped photos with her cell phone to  immediately send to Dan in his hospital room.  

Gary described the cancer as an extremely aggressive one, but said that his nephew is very strong, is staying positive and maintains a strong faith in God.  

"He has phenomenal spirit living for the moment on a high level.  He’s joking, happy and worries more about all of us," added Cynthia Kinman.  

Potokar works for the Kinmans’ landscaping company, and enjoys friendly sparring with his uncle over track records.  Both were track runners at OSU, and he was always trying to break his uncle’s record.  

"He still never beat my relay record," chuckled Kinman.

The pair said that Dan was a tiny baby, who grew up to be the biggest of the family’s kids.  

They described their nephew as always an "A" student, and a loving guy who always ends a phone call or a visit by saying, "I love you."  

The Kinmans expressed great appreciation to everyone for caring so much, and especially to Buffalo Wild Wings for sponsoring a fund raising effort to help their family in a time of need.

 

Free wings for a year

Employees of the store were greeted by over 100 people hoping to be one of the first 100 to receive free wings for one year.

Whitehall Yearling High School graduates Josh Shepherd, Brandon Weybright, Ashley McKittrick, Max Santry, Brandon Lantto and Britney Gilmer arrived at 8 p.m. the night before to camp out, and successfully received their 52 coupons for free wings.  

The group brought sleeping bags, a futon mattress, along with a lap top to watch DVD movies to pass the time.  They also played a lot of Frisbee in the parking lot, and visited Jolly Pirate Donuts for coffee and doughnuts to stay awake.  

The group admitted that they only got a little bit of sleep, but had a great deal of fun together and with all the other people waiting just like them.

Mayor John Wolfe welcomed the business, and said that it has been long anticipated since making the decision to locate in Whitehall.  He noted that it seems to be the place for a sports bar and restaurant, and happy to have them as a community partner.

Tiffany Makely, Vice President of the Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce, offered that she is thrilled the restaurant chose Whitehall, asking, "Who wouldn’t want another great place to eat?"

Buffalo Wild Wings opened the first store in 1981 on the campus of the Ohio State University.  There are now 17 in the Columbus area, added to the 160 corporate stores and 342 franchises.  

General Manager Nick Grams said that he is excited about the new store, and wants to provide a fun place for residents to gather to enjoy friends, sports and a good meal.  

He also pointed out that the buffalo mascot, who proved quite entertaining, is available at no charge for area events.  It only takes a phone call to 453-9464 a few days prior to the event to schedule an appearance.

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