Customers open their hearts, wallets for local restaurant owner

Talk about a show of support.

A crowd-funding effort to support Rick Volz, owner of Voltzy’s Root Beer Stand, while he recovers from surgery exceeded its goal of $5,000 Monday, Sept. 5, after only four days. By this morning, Sept. 6, it had reached $5,055.

The GoFundMe effort is named “Voltzy’s Recovery” generated contributions from 88 people, including a $1,000 donation that was anonymous.

“I can’t even put into words the emotion that went through me this morning,” Volz wrote in a message to this news outlet shortly after the goal was reached Monday. “I’m extremely grateful. Believe me, this is going to help so much.”

The popular eatery at 4668 Springboro Pike in Moraine shut down in May, just prior to its busiest summer months, when Volz entered the hospital for foot surgery. At the time, Volz was hoping the layoff would last for only a few weeks. But the surgery was more extensive than anticipated and resulted in the amputation of a toe, and the restaurant has remained closed while Volz recuperates.

Voltzy’s is known for its burgers, house-made soups, slaw dogs, coneys and root beer floats — but also for the larger-than-life personality of its owner, who greets customers by name and delivers good-natured insults in rapid-fired banter.

His regulars often give the good-natured insults right back at him. One of the GoFundMe contributors, Mark Shepard, wrote to accompany his donation, “Can’t wait to taste the Alpo you put in your burgers. It gives the meat that special Voltzy flavor. And I especially can’t wait to hear your choice comments after reading this! Get well and get back to work!”

Another customer wrote, “Hey old man, get that toe back on and fix me some lunch!”

The fund-raising effort was launched by Voltzy’s customer Connie Lambert West, who wrote as part of the donation effort, “As many of you know by now, Rick (Voltzy) has been through a lot this last couple of months. Not only has he had major surgery with his toe amputation and therapy, but also having to close his restaurant, which is his main source of income. This has had a huge impact on him. Even with health insurance, there are still expenses that are not covered.”

In an update on the Voltzy’s Root Beer Stand Facebook page in mid-August, Volz wrote, “Doctors are extremely happy with my progress. I will be fitted next week with a toe prosthetic. This is a very slow healing process and we need to be sure the wound is healing properly.

“Believe me, I am dying to get back to work and doing the thing I love to do most and that is cooking. I miss everyone and appreciate all the prayers and support.”

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