West Jefferson presents Community Service Awards

By Kevin Dye For The Madison Press

March 6, 2014

The Village of West Jefferson honored two residents Monday night, March 3 for their impact and service to the village and it’s residents.

The Ralph R. Parsons Community Service Award was presented to the late Tom Phillips and to Tom Buscemi. Mayor Darlene Steele and council members met friends and family members of both recipients as their names were unveiled on the marble monument inside the first floor of Village Hall.

Mayor Steele cited Tom Phillips’ dedicated service to his church, family, community and country. Phillips graduated with a degree in education from Otterbein University and a masters degree in school administration and special education at Ohio State University. He served his country in the United States Army and Ohio National Guard and commanded a medical unit in Columbus and Circleville.

Phillips cared greatly about the education of young people and he served Jefferson Local Schools as a principal from 1976 through 1991. He also served on the Jefferson Local School Board and the Tolles Technical & Career Center Board.

He was active in the West Jefferson community as well and was a member of the West Jefferson Community Association and served a mayor of West Jefferson from 2004-2008.

“Tom Phillips is very deserving of this Ralph Parsons Award for all the good he did, not only for the village, but for the many endeavors he was involved in,” Mayor Steele said. “I believe his actions very definitely left this place better than he found it and we are all better for it.”

Tom Phillips wife Patricia Phillips was there along with their family as she accepted Tom’s award posthumously.

“Tom would be honored to receive this award,” Patricia Phillips said. “He was the best people person I know and he thought it was an honor to serve the children of this community.”

The other Parsons award recipient was the Tom Buscemi, who operates the iconic Ann and Tony’s Restaurant in the village. The restaurant has not only received recognition both locally and around the state of Ohio, but it has become an important fundraising headquarters for many local groups thanks to the efforts of Tom Buscemi, his family and staff.

Ann and Tony’s Restaurant located to it’s current location on Main Street since 1950 and was run by Tom‘s father Tony Buscemi. Tom continued to work at his family’s restaurant each summer during the six years he attended a seminary in New York. Tony Buscemi ran the family business for 27 years, but now his son Tom has spent the last 42 years at the helm.

Mayor Steele said the restaurant plays an important part in local charity as it opens its doors and Tom and his staff donate endless hours of time and energy to host special spaghetti dinners for enumerable local causes and charities.

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

“I feel like I’m in front of a lot of celebrities,” Tom Buscemi said. “It’s just been one day at a time for 60 some years now. I thank you very much. It’s a surprise, I tell you.”