Bar owner a hero to abused kids, hockey fans
JAN 28, 2013 8:50a ET
Greg May has made a name for himself among hockey fans in Columbus.
The owner of Buffalo Wild Wings in Grandview hosted the 2011 Cannonfest for Columbus Blue Jackets fans, currently sponsors the CAHL E-League hockey team B-Dubs as well as the 2013 Make CF History hockey tournament in June, and he always makes sure the CBJ games are on the big screens in his 5th Ave. location—including tonight’s 7 p.m. battle against the Dallas Stars.
“I’ve been in the restaurant business for 17 years,” said May, who also sponsors an annual golf tournament to raise money for various charities in Franklin County. “It’s been great connecting with hockey fans over the last few.”
Connecting with his community is what May’s life has been about. His most recent effort is taking over as the 2013 president of the CASA board of trustees here in Franklin County.
“CASA is a perfect way for me to give back to a community that has been so good to me and my family,” said May.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. It’s a program in Franklin County that provides trained volunteers to act as advocates for abused or neglected children in the court system.
“Whenever you read in the paper about a child found in the closet, who hasn’t been fed, or something similar to that, those are the cases we work with,” said May. “We work hand-in-hand with Franklin County Children’s Services. Our dollars are really being focused on the kids that need us the most.”
“Once you learn about some of the stuff that goes on…,” said May, pausing. “It just rips your heart out.”
May learned about CASA when a frequent BW3’s patron asked him to sponsor lunches during the volunteer trainings for the people becoming guardians.
“I had donated some gift certificates, but then they approached me about the trainings. It was an all-day deal at the courthouse,” said May. “So we made up some box lunches with some chicken wraps — we did that a few times. Then they said, ‘You want to be on our board?’”
May got involved in 2011 and said in his volunteer work he found some of the most caring people in Columbus, all working to make life better for children whose lives have been torn apart.
“I started realizing (our board has) some of the smartest, most gifted, most caring, dynamic people I’ve ever had the pleasure to be around,” said May, who said CASA needs financial support and guardians. “My goal is not to let all that talent go to waste. I look around the room and I want to make sure I leverage the talent I see as much as possible.”
His work with CASA also gives May an opportunity to use his legal background. Yep, this entrepreneur and sports fan used to be an attorney.
“I went to law school, paid a lot of money to do that; spent 7 or 8 years working as an attorney Downtown,” said May. “I was set to spend my life practicing law but, I got to the fork in the road and I took a left instead of a right.”
The wear and tear of bankruptcy law had worn May down.
“I really didn’t enjoy taking people’s houses and cars away,” said May. “It wasn’t a very fun job.”
May’s job now is fun. Serving up wings and beer to sports fans on a daily basis keeps May connected with his community in a way that’s meaningful. And his work in CASA allows him to bridge the gap between his past and his future in a way that impacts Columbus every day.
“I found that through this organization, I can use (my legal skills) for some good. I’m helping these kids out,” said May. “But really, when you look at it in a bigger light, this organization helps this community by taking these kids and putting them on solid ground so they can lead a normal life. I couldn’t ask for a better organization to join; I can use my talents and feel good about it.”
For anyone interested in donating money, becoming a volunteer or training to be a guardian for CASA, you can get more information at casacolumbus.org.
You can catch tonight’s 7 p.m. game at Nationwide Arena or at home on Fox Sports Ohio. And, of course, you can always catch the game at BW3’s in Grandview.
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