Primo’s hosting fundraiser on Wednesday to benefit Team Wandell

Published 7:19 pm Monday, May 22, 2017

The word “hero” often comes up when discussing Dr. Josh Wandell.
Never letting his ALS diagnosis keep him down and continually spreading the positive message of “Faith of Fear,” Brendan Koehler knew it was time to give back.
The three-year manager of Primo’s Italian Restaurant told the Elizabethton Star Monday the establishment would be donating 15 percent of its daily earning to Team Wandell – an organization formed to help spread the word the disease and promote the message of Wandell.
“He used to come to the restaurant every Wednesday after church,” Koehler said. “Moe (Farrouki), our owner, would always come over and joke with him and his uncle, (Kelly Geagley). But now, he’s started up a little bit of a tradition of coming in on Wednesday’s with a group. We always have time to sit around, joke … he’s just an incredible person.”
It was a trip to East Side Elementary when the wheels started to move to have a project in place for Wandell.
Wandell, the former principal of the school, was having the Early Learning Center dedicated in his honor by Elizabethton City Schools and the gym was near full capacity.
“It was an incredible day,” Koehler said. “You could look around the gym and see the community coming together for him. All the emotions – the joy, the excitement, the hope. It was amazing. I was driving back to the restaurant and knew I wanted to give back where I could. I talked with our owner, and he agreed with the plan of donating funds to Team Wandell. It is the least we can do to help.”
From 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., the restaurant will have donation buckets in the restaurant and various raffles available to the public to go along with the original 15 percent idea.
Koehler added Josh’s story struck a chord with him. With both Wandell and Koehler the same age, the latter said he appreciated the work put on by the former educator.
“You dig into his story; you see what he’s all about … he’s the epitome of what we should all strive to be like,” Koehler said. “He doesn’t want pity; he’s never getting down. He’s got such an amazing outlook on life, and it’s a message the continues to impact the community.
“They say in this world there are no more heroes,” he continued. “Well, here in Elizabethton, all you have to do is look in your backyard and see we have one of the biggest heroes of all time. Not many men live the way he does … Primo’s just wants to thank him for being such a man of faith.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox