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All in this together: Cincinnati Chili Dinner raises funds for Town Run Tap House

By Staff | Feb 21, 2019

RIGHT: Greg Talbert, of Shepherdstown, right, serves Cincinnati Chili to Annette Gloomis, of Shepherdstown, during the Town Run Tap House and Community Pub fundraiser on Saturday evening. BELOW: Donna Joy, left, looks at silent auction items with Russ Byrum, both of Shepherdstown. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Late one Saturday night in Dec. 2018, burglars disabled Town Run Tap House and Community Pub’s internet connection, stole Town Run’s security system, broke into its safe and ATM machine and made a clean get-away with all of the cash in the building. While the crime is still under police investigation, Town Run Tap House’s owners have kept hard at work for the last two months, trying to make up for the substantial loss.

Thankfully, the Shepherdstown community immediately rallied behind owners and husband-and-wife team Todd Cotgreave and Jessie Shanholltz, to help them financially get back on their feet.

“Locals came in the first day after it happened to give us money. That speaks to me, about what kind of community we’re part of,” Cotgreave said on Saturday night, during a community-wide fundraiser for the business at its location.

According to Cotgreave, he agreed to host a Cincinnati Chili Dinner and Fundraiser, after community members repeatedly approached him, asking for him to host a fundraising event they could support. The dinner, which featured a silent auction and live music by Musselman High School jazz band Exit 5, was highlighted with the Shepherdstown-famous Cincinnati Chili of former Cincinnati resident, Mark Baracka.

“I’ve done my chili at parties and stuff, but this is big exposure here,” Baracka said about the event, for which he made 100 servings of Cincinnati Chili. The servings sold out within an hour of the two-and-a-half hour event.

Musselman High School’s jazz band, Exit 5, performs for a room full of community members, during the Cincinnati Chili Dinner and Fundraiser at the Town Run Tap House and Community Pub on Saturday evening. Tabitha Johnston

“Just helping Todd and Jessie out is important to me — we love the Town Run. So after all that happened, we needed to help,” Baracka said. “It looks like it’s turning out great.”

For Lillian Potter-Saum, of Shepherdstown, the event was an opportunity for her to support her community.

“Our community supports our community, that’s what we do. The town had my back, and I have its back,” Potter-Saum said, mentioning she had already enjoyed a plate full of Cincinnati Chili, and was ready to win some silent auction items, which were donated by local businesses, including Four Seasons Books, Wild Rose Soap Company and ThirtySeasons LLC.

According to ThirtySeasons LLC owner Will Wooton, donating silent auction items, such as an electric cultivator and electric chainsaw, was an easy way for him and co-owner Mike Winters to financially help Cotgreave.

“Someone’s going to go over there and get some great deals on tools,” Wooton said. “Todd’s a buddy of mine, and that fundraiser’s a way to help him recoup funds.”

Shepherdstown residents Russ Byrum, left, and Donna Joy bid on silent auction items, during the Cincinnati Chili Dinner and Fundraiser at the Town Run Tap House and Community Pub on Saturday evening. Tabitha Johnston

As Shepherdstown resident and local teacher Donna Joy placed bids on a few silent auction items, she explained why she views Town Run Tap House and Community Pub as an important fixture in the community.

“We don’t have anything else that’s for the community like this business,” Joy said. “I bid on everything, pretty much, just to get other people to bid in the silent auction. I hope they can get a big chunk of the money back that was stolen, through this event.”