November started with a bang at MI Windows’ Gratz plant.
Or at least a splat.
The Gratz Outreach committee members raised money by holding a pie-in-the-face exhibition in early November. Team members donated money for the right to “pie” others during multiple sessions spread out over a few days. In the end, 78 people got a whipped-cream concoction in the kisser.
According to Gratz Outreach Committee Co-Chairman Ryne Crabb, who helped organize the event, the committee raised $4,256. The money will be used to pay for veterans’ meals on Veterans Day.
“We’re partnering with Villa Schiano’s in Elizabethville,” Crabb said. “We’re going to give a free meal to any veteran and guest who comes in that day.”
The big moment came on Nov. 1 when Eric Erdman made a surprise appearance and pied MI CEO Matt DeSoto. Erdman, a 2018 graduate of Millersburg High School, has battled brain cancer for the past three years. Shortly after his diagnosis, Erdman started a foundation, T.E.K., to help children. Through his work, he’s developed a strong friendship with DeSoto.
In an effort to keep Erdman’s appearance a secret, team members made sure he remained hidden until the big moment. When his turn came, Erdman put some elbow grease into his pitch.
“I think it was a special friendship pie smash,” DeSoto said. “I saw him when he came over with the pie and I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ That was neat.”
“Getting to put a pie in Matt’s face was awesome,” Erdman said. “I got it in his hair, too.”
Gratz team member Tammie Schmick had originally won the right to pie DeSoto. But she offered to give up her opportunity so that Erdman could join in the festivities.
“Eric has meant a lot to MI,” Crabb said. “We were very excited that he could be a part of this.”
DeSoto was far from alone in getting pied. Numerous team members took their turn in the “stocks,” putting their face into the wooden cutout and being greeted by a pie plate full of whipped cream.
“It was probably a little bit worse than I was expecting,” Jerry Welker said with a laugh as he wiped a special whipped cream/peanut butter creation off of his face. “But it was all for a good cause.”
Welker and Shawn Scheidler, the man who pied him, work together in shipping. Most of the combinations involved people who are well acquainted with one another. In more than a few situations, people were pieing their own family members.
“Sisters were throwing pies at brothers, mothers were throwing pies at sons, and line workers were throwing pies at supervisors or former supervisors,” Crabb said. “It was a good time.”
The Gratz Outreach Committee got its idea from the Hegins Outreach team, which raised over $1,000 for St. Jude at a pie-in-the-face event in September.