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Here’s the scoop: Dairy Queen’s generosity honored with playroom naming

October 28, 2019 by 

Well isn’t that the cherry on top of the sundae.

Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley recognized local Dairy Queen franchisees for their decade-long generosity by naming a pediatric playroom in their honor.

Local franchisees gathered at the newly named Local Dairy Queen Families & Fans Playroom on the Beeghly campus inpatient floor to be honored and among the first to view the new signage.

DQ franchisees and ACH reps

Seeing the signage for the first time are local franchisees (left to right) Mike Zembower, business consultant for International Dairy Queen; Braxton Caldwell, manager for Caldwell Dairy Queens; Randy Caldwell, Dairy Queen franchise owner; Chrissy Smith, Dairy Queen franchise owner; Ray Smith, Dairy Queen franchise owner; Keith Decker, area manager for Smith’s Dairy Queen, as well as Lisa Taafe, clinical administrative director, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley; Ashlee Mauti, Covelli Enterprises; and Sharon Hrina, vice president, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley.

Over the last 10-plus years, 38 local Dairy Queen locations have raised more than $250,000 for Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. Annual events like Miracle Treat DayFree Cone Day, register coin canisters, fall round and summer balloon sales all contributed to the total.

“Your fundraising and commitment to your local pediatric hospital is a wonderful gift,” said Sharon Hrina, vice president, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. “As Akron Children’s designs spaces and programs, we focus on doing that through the eyes of children, and this playroom is a fine example of that.”

The hospital created the playroom to provide an escape for the children on the floor. It helps distract them from their illness, keeps them from getting bored and allows for quicker recovery. It’s proven to be a popular space where many children who use it find the toys to be better than what they have at home.

They almost don’t want to leave when they’re released from the hospital, Hrina told the Dairy Queen franchisees.

Many organizations and hospital volunteers support the playroom by donating toys, reading to and playing games with the children, and cleaning and disinfecting the toys.

“It’s wonderful to live in a community who is so interested in the children we serve,” Hrina said.

DQ franchise owners check out the playroom space

Chrissy and Ray Smith (center), the owners of 5 area Dairy Queen franchises, check out the playroom space with Kelsey Moreton (left), development coordinator, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, and Sharon Hrina, vice president, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley.

Ray Smith, Dairy Queen franchise owner with stores in Austintown, Boardman, Canfield, Columbiana and Cornersburg, spoke on behalf of the other Dairy Queen representatives, saying it’s an honor to have the playroom named after them to show their commitment to the community.

“Dairy Queen is family,” he said. “We have generations of fans who enjoy our stores, and they often start out as kids, so it’s a natural fit to support Akron Children’s Hospital as our charity of choice.”