PHOENIXVILLE — Lifelong Phoenixville resident Richard A. “Dick” Kunsch couldn’t hide the smile spread across his face late last Saturday night at the Columbia Station.
He was the “victim” of the first Roast and Toast held by the Phoenixville Healthcare Access Foundation. Kunsch, who is the CEO/Vice Chairman of Phoenixville Federal Bank & Trust and board chairman of the foundation, was surprised by the turnout and even more so by some of the roasters.
“It was something I’ll always remember,” Kunsch said. “I look at this as an outpouring of love on the part of everybody. were all good and did their homework. For an unrehearsed thing, it was really good.”
Brothers Robb and Dave Frees, the emcees for the evening, vouched for how unrehearsed it was as they weren’t even sure heading in what would happen.
“We got together right before and had to fuse ,” said Dave Frees. “We each had our own stuff.”
After nine months of planning, the event went out without any noticeable hitch.
“People are saying they had fun,” PHCAF Executive Director Tracy Shantz said. “There are a lot of fundraisers in Phoenixville and we were trying to find our niche. This may be it.”
It was an evening of great food, good friends and much laughter.
Seven roasters, which included friends, coworkers and family, took the stage to give little shots at Kunsch, who had a seat of honor right next to the podium.
One of the many jokes of the evening came from Donald J.L. Coppedge.
“We all know Dick is a great lover of Revolutionary War history and Valley Forge National Historic Park,” Coppedge said. “You know why? Because he fought there.”
One of his sons, Kurt Kunsch, made jokes about how he golfed. He also told the audience about his father’s many diets.
“My dad’s dietary habits change on a pretty regular basis,” Kunsch said. “There have been many family dinners throughout the years where he proclaims his newest diet.”
Kurt Kunsch shared what his dad said at those dinners: “Nothing starchy, only colorful vegetables.” Then his dad said, “Would you please pass the bread basket?” “No white wine. Only red... Excuse me, bartender, I’ll have some of that Pino Grigio over there.”
At the end of it all, Kunsch took the stage to thank everyone in attendance and speak a little about the other reason they were all there.
The roast may have been in honor of Kunsch, but it was also in support of the Phoenixville Healthcare Access Foundation.
“These people that were here tonight are the movers and shakers,” Kunsch said. “That’s what makes Phoenixville great because we all care about each other. We saw a great outpouring of public support for Healthcare Access.”
Kunsch believes the event was a great idea to help raise money.
“You can have a lot of fun raising money for worthwhile purposes,” Kunsch said. “If you make it fun, people will come and contribute. Everybody has a good time and has a good feeling going home.”
Dave Frees agreed with Kunsch’s sentiments.
“I like the idea of a roast because I think when people make fun of you in the right way, it’s really a special way of honoring them,” Dave Frees said. “It was a great opportunity for the community to come together to learn about what Healthcare Access does and also raise some money and have some fun.”
Kunsch was honored to be the focus of the night’s festivities. As someone who has spent his life in a little community, he has gotten to know so many people around him.
“I’m just blessed that I was able to live in Phoenixville all my life and I’ll die in Phoenixville,” Kunsch said. “When you’re a part of a small town like we are, you get to know and work with everybody. It’s just a great feeling of camaraderie that exists. As long as we can maintain that here in Phoenixville, it’s going to be alive and well.”
The video of Kunsch speaking was filmed by Candice Monhollan and the video of Donald J.L. Coppedge roasting Kunsch was filmed by Barry Taglieber.