There’s a memorial at the front of Matt Harper’s neighborhood, a stone with a plaque and a tall flag, in honor of William Moskal.
Someone takes care of it, Harper said, keeping it covered in small flags and flowers every Sept. 11, the day Moskal died in the terrorist attacks in New York.
Moskal, who lived in Harper’s neighborhood, had been on a business trip when the planes hit the towers of the World Trade Center. He often went to New York on business for Marsh, but rarely met in that office, Harper said. When his wife didn’t hear from him for a few days, they held a vigil in the family’s yard.
Harper said he felt frustrated after he learned Moskal would not be returning to his wife and children.
“You want to help,” Harper said. “You want to do something.”
So Harper decided to use what he had—his business—to help Moskal’s family.
Harper, an owner of in Brecksville (then called Eddie’s Creekside), picked a Sunday in October—Sundays are the restaurant’s busiest, he said—and decided to donate all the sales to the Moskal family.
And the community came together around the cause.
He told the employees, who suggested other ways to help out, too. Some offered to work for free, he said, and others gave up their tips.
“It was just very gratifying to see that,” Harper said.
Some neighbors offered to work for free, as well, he added. Harper’s wife, Shirley Harper, said some of the food vendors donated money, too.
The day of the fundraiser, the restaurant had its busiest day ever, serving about 1,300 people and raising about $17,000. Normal Sundays only bring in about half that crowd, he said.
“It was non-stop all day,” Harper said, adding that people would eat quickly and leave so the tables weren’t filled up.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Shirley Harper said, noting how quickly the day went.
Giving the money to the Moskals was an emotional experience, Harper said, remembering that Moskal’s wife—his neighbor to this day—reminded him to not take anything in life for granted.