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Pizzeria Owner Who Hugged Obama: An Amazing Humanitarian and Blood Advocate

Here's a local woman's connection to Scott Van Duzer, the man who embraced President Obama in a bear hug.

Four months ago today my family encountered tragedy: my brother, Kyle, was a victim of crime, and thanks in part to 50 units of blood he received in the hospital, his life was saved.

You may recall asking local American heroes to heed the call to public service by donating blood to help save lives.

(Read

In that blog post, I talked about a pizzeria owner who helped organize a blood drive to help me thank and recognize those donors.

You know who that "pizzeria" owner was back in May? 

It was Scott VanDuzer.  Scott and his foundation, The VanDuzer Foundation, have worked tirelessly promoting blood awareness while collecting thousands of units of blood in the last five years. 

Scott and the foundation have worked to save the lives of many local community members.  Scott is not a politician, he is a guy who saw a need 5 years ago and had a means of helping people so he did. He recruited other like-minded people and together they formed a foundation of support.

Today, as my friend, Scott VanDuzer, witnesses his spontaneous visit with the President of the United States go viral, I want to take a moment to explain to you WHY Scott was visited by the President.

President Obama visited Scott yesterday to congratulate him personally on his recent accomplishments in completing a 1,000-mile bike journey this past summer and meeting with the U.S. Surgeon General promoting blood awareness.

The President thanked him for his service to community and his involvement in helping those families in need through his county and throughout this country.

In embracing the President in a bear hug, Scott did what Scott does. His effervescent personality is contagious.  He was so excited to have the President walk into his pizza shop to support him that he lifted President Obama the same way Scott uplifts his entire local community every single day.

Join Scott in promoting blood awareness. Join Scott in saving lives.

Be a Hero by donating blood every 56 days.

As we mark another anniversary of the September 11 attacks, please take a moment in remembering our everyday heros and donate blood tomorrow.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stephanie Ubaydi, Red Cross Volunteer September 10, 2012 at 07:30 PM
If you'd like to donate blood for the American Red Cross in memory of heros lost on 9-11 please consider attending the blood drives all around the area or specifically the larger ones at The Palace and Wayne State University.
Cindy Quitmeyer September 11, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Thanks for sharing, Steph!! You are amazing. Prayers are still going up for your brother, Kyle!
donna mcmullen September 11, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I used to donate blood but now I am on meds that make me unable to give. It makes me sad that I can no longer do so...it always made me feel like I was able to contribute to society in a small way. I urge all that are able to please give, you never know when you or a loved one may need this sort of help.
Erin September 11, 2012 at 02:54 PM
What a great story of someone using their life, and in this case, also using their business, to give life. Scott is a great example of how one person with a wonderful sense of community can make a difference to many.
Alan Stamm September 11, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Well-deserved shout for Scott, Stephanie, and I hope it's not churlish to suggest that his presidential visit wasn't "spontaneous." As you note, President Obama popped in during a campaign swing "to congratulate him personally on his recent accomplishments." I also note admiringly in a blog post [http://alanstamm.wordpress.com] that Scott is a self-described "marketing genius" -- which may play a role in how he embraced a chance to grab media attention by grabbing his guest. To be clear: I think that's a good thing. Even from 1,300 miles away, he seems like just what you describe.

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