Tom and Lisa Checkosky, owners of Pepicelli’s Pizza in Ashland, didn’t know they’d been nominated for the 2017 Virginia Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Small Business. So when they received the call that they’d won, while in Florida, celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary, they were confused at first. Tom kept asking the person on the other line “You mean in the entire state of Virginia, there was nobody else?” Once he realized what was happening, Tom said he was brought to tears.
The award ceremony was held at the Governor’s Mansion on April 20. According to Tom, “The best way I can describe the event was it was the most informal, formal event, I have ever been to." He was surprised by the warmth and welcome extended to him and his family by Governor McAuliffe, the Governor even taking selfies with some of Tom’s family.
Last year, Pepicelli’s Pizza received the Hanover County “Spirit of Volunteerism” award for “Commitment to Community”, recognizing the local business or non-profit that exemplifies strong community values and a sustained commitment to supporting the community.
The Checkosky family fell in love with Ashland and all its warmth and charm when they relocated here years ago to open their restaurant, Pepicelli’s, named after Lisa’s family. Since the opening of the restaurant, the Checkosky family has become tremendous supporters of the Ashland and Beaverdam communities, volunteering and contributing in many area events and charities. The couple say they enjoy giving back to their local community where they can see their efforts making a difference near home.
Among their many contributions, Pepicelli’s Pizza donates 20 pizzas every month for families at Children’s Hospital of Richmond through Connor’s Heroes Foundation, an organization helping children and families during cancer treatment. Lisa, whose brother was born without a right ventricle in his heart, spent a lot of time in Children’s Hospital as a child, and understood that eating a decent meal at the end of the day was something most families in that situation rarely enjoy. Her father started a similar foundation in the 1980’s after dealing with his son’s health issues.
The family is also heavily involved in the CJ Thumbs Up Foundation, an organization providing assistance to families of children with chronic or life threatening illnesses. They raise their own chickens and donate hundreds of eggs to area food banks. They have also contributed to Hanover Humane Society, Hanover Safe Place, Relay for Life, Shop with a Cop, the Rockville and Beaverdam little leagues and countless others.