West Jeff’s Parsons Award goes to Buscemi and Phillips

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Messenger photo Jeff Pfeil On March 3, the village of West Jefferson recognized this year’s winners of the Ralph L. Parsons Award. Patsy Phillips (left) accepted the award on behalf of her late husband, Thomas C. Phillips. Tom Buscemi (right) also was honored.
Messenger photo Jeff Pfeil
On March 3, the village of West Jefferson recognized this year’s winners of the Ralph L. Parsons Award. Patsy Phillips (left) accepted the award on behalf of her late husband, Thomas C. Phillips. Tom Buscemi (right) also was honored.

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

With the presentation of the 2014 Ralph L. Parsons Award, the village of West Jefferson honored Thomas Buscemi and the late Thomas C. Phillips for their outstanding community service.

The two men were recognized in a ceremony on March 3. Buscemi owns Ann and Tony’s Restaurant in West Jefferson. Phillips was a longtime educator and former mayor of West Jefferson. Phillips’ wife, Patsy, accepted the award on his behalf.

 “It looks like I’m up there with an awful lot of celebrities,” Buscemi said, referring to the Ralph Parsons Award display in the West Jefferson administration building.

 “I can’t tell you how great an honor it is,” he said.

Mrs. Phillips, fighting back tears, also expressed her appreciation. Mr. Phillips  passed away in September 2012.

 “He would have been surprised,” she said. “He loved his community. He could work with anyone. He had more people skills than anyone I know.”

Friends and family of the honorees crowded into the administration building lobby for the short ceremony preceding the village council meeting. Mayor Darlene Steele listed Buscemi’s and Phillips’ accomplishments. Council Vice President Steve Johnston presented the plaques.

Thomas Buscemi

Buscemi grew up in West Jefferson, spending his younger years at his parents’ restaurant which opened in 1945 as The Home Restaurant. The name changed to Ann and Tony’s when it moved to its current location in 1950. Buscemi took over the operation from his father in 1972.

Buscemi raised his four children while expanding the restaurant where many residents got their first job or a second chance. Over the years, he has donated hours of time and energy for spaghetti dinners raising money for local causes.

 “What Tom has given West Jefferson is not just a family to be proud of, a successful business, or his commitment to civic duty, he has given a meeting place, a community seat, a setting for all our sweetest celebrations, and comfort during our greatest losses,” Steele said.

Thomas C. Phillips

Tom Phillips, a graduate of Columbus North High School, earned a bachelor of science in education from Otterbein College and a masters of arts in school administration and special education from The Ohio State University.

He served as a principal for the West Jefferson schools and later as a member of the Jefferson Local and Tolles Career & Technical Center school boards. He also held leadership positions with the West Jefferson Community Association.

Phillips coached Little League baseball and youth football and was a football referee. As a member of the Masons, he served as an advisor to the DeMolay youth.

 “Tom felt that serving as mayor of West Jefferson was one of the highest honors he had received,” said Steele, who as a former council member worked with Phillips while he was mayor.

 “I called upon him for guidance several times after I became mayor in 2010,” she said.

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