$1,313 in tips for MS, who say’s 13 is unlucky, way too cool!!!

Inspiring others, raising awareness of causes and helping those in need while having a great time is in my books a recipe for success.  I knew guest bar tending would be fun but it is even beyond my wildest expectations.

On Sunday April 6, we raised $1,313 for Multiple Sclerosis at Diamonds and simply had a blast.  So on this great Sunday the number 13 was a lucky number.  $1313 in donations, $13 more than the $1300 we raised on February 23 (OK so 23 is not 13 but there is a three in there).  Fortunately more than 13 people showed, approximately 40 people showed up and it was a WIN-WIN for everyone.  All the people that came had a great time chatting with me and mingling with the various guests.

What is so cool is that I have people coming from so many different parts of my life, Spin Students, clients, Cooper teammates, Cooper Pest vendors, Rotarians, friends, family and people who heard of it.  So people gathered, made new friends, had a few drinks, ate some amazing food and then tipped as normal (well maybe a little more!!) and went home with a smile on their face.

In the meantime while my guests were having a great time, I was behind the bar living the dream.  Bartending is in my blood but so are so many other things.  When I can do something I love or want to do and can combine it to help others, well it does not get better.

My ace in the hole at Diamonds was Cynthia Stark.  Cynthia’s day job is with Allies, Inc. but on the side she is a bartender and on Sunday she was my coach.  She took me under her wing and was with me every step of the way.  But even more special is that Cynthia also is a victim of MS.  When I arrived at 1:30 to prep for the day Cynthia handed me an envelope from work with contributions her teammates made on her behalf for my cause.  Over $250 was raised all going into the tip jar.  And it goes a bit further as one of the co-owners of Diamonds, Philomena Zucchetti also works at Allies with Cynthia.  It never ceases to amaze me how small the world is.  The other cool touch was a gift card to Diamond’s that Philomena raffled off.

Cynthia Stark, my bartending coach, sporting her Cooper Bike the US for MS jersey

Cynthia Stark, my bartending coach, sporting her Cooper Bike the US for MS jersey

A big thank you to Tommy & Anthony Zucchetti for making the day so amazing. The Zucchetti’s were gracious hosts and promoted the event over the past several weeks…and it worked!!  As the day wound down, I met a wonderful family who lives in Pennington who are on the Diamond’s email list.  They heard of the event and brought in their family for dinner and to give me a donation of $100.  The wife, in her 40s is also a victim of MS.  When people with the disease end up giving me donations I am blown away as it is for them that I fund raise and tears come to my eyes when they are the ones contributing.

Back to fun with bar tending….with Cynthia at my side I just honed my bar tending skills.  Frank, the normal bartender was there to help me with some of the cash register items and to encourage me on.  But Cynthia had me rocking and rolling.  Once again, it was more than just making drinks.  I was able to use their glass washer, set out the glasses, work the register and simply work, work, work.

And as the consummate bartender I did a lot of chatting with my friends and the regulars.  These gigs could become contagious.

Cynthia, Frank and I all sported our Cooper 2012 bike jersey worn for the cross country ride.  Each has kept the jersey and are making plans on wearing them again.  Just as neat was a shirt Cynthia made up to tell the world that she has MS.  Patrons of the bar never knew, now they do.  And I promised to Cynthia, that I will continue to work tirelessly on her behalf until she no longer has to battle this insipid disease.

And as always, none of this would be possible without the support of my anchor and rock, the lovely Laura Cooper.  Thank you Coop!!! So, as I prepare for my last gig of the spring on April 27 2p-6p at The Cool Cricket in Fieldsboro, NJ it is your erstwhile bartender signing off.  Hope to see you on the 27th.  Phil

(from right to left) Ed, my spin student; Laura, my wife :), Bette Stewart, my role model and massive MS fundraiser, Lauren Trager, MS Society teammate and my biggest cheerleader; Lauren's finacee Brian who she drags everywhere!!!

(from right to left) Ed, my spin student at Robert Wood Johnson Hamilton Wellness & Fitness; Laura, my wife :) , Bette Stewart, my role model and massive MS fundraiser, Lauren Trager, MS Society teammate and my biggest cheerleader; Lauren’s finacee Brian who she drags everywhere!!!

Robin & Ron Geherty at their best!!!

Robin & Ron Geherty at their best!!!

Phil chatting with dinner guests

Phil chatting with dinner guests

Phil Cooper wins Corporate Citizen of the Year

From an early age Phil Cooper was always taught about the importance of charitable giving by his parents. Cooper’s philanthropic efforts were recently recognized by NJBIZ when he was named the 2013 Corporate Citizen of the Year.  Cooper was among 15 nominees in the Corporate Citizen of the Year category, which was then narrowed down to six finalists. The business of the year program celebrates New Jersey’s most dynamic businesses and business leaders who share a commitment to professional excellence, business growth and community.

“As corporate leaders there comes great responsibility to be great corporate citizens; tirelessly promoting diversity, helping those in need and raising awareness for civic, charitable and health causes,” says Cooper, CEO of Cooper Pest Solutions, home of BedBug Central in Lawrenceville, NJ.


In the summer of 2012, Cooper set out on a journey that would change his life forever. He would cycle across the country with the Bike the US for MS team, from Yorktown, VA to San Francisco, CA. The team rode a total of 3,780 miles, traveling through nine states that summer, but most importantly Cooper would go on to raise $50,000 for the National MS Society.

He was so successful in his efforts to bring awareness and crucially needed funds to the National MS Society with his ride in 2012 that he decided to do it again in 2013. This time Cooper would set out to be the champion for five local and national charities; Anchor House Ride for Runaways, MS150 City to Shore, American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure & the 2013 LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly, Cooper also hooked up with the last leg of the Bike the US for MS ride from Montana to Seattle, WA.

Cooper is humbled by this win and takes great pride in the recognition of his efforts.

A Sad Day for the LIVESTRONG Foundation

Sunday August 18, was a sad day for the Livestrong Foundation and all the good it does; I witnessed firsthand how severely Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace has affected the Foundation on the Livestrong Challenge Philly ride.

I signed up to do the Livestrong ride this summer as a way of giving back to my fellow spin instructor and friend Rob Sebastiani, a cancer survivor, a road cyclist, an avid Eagles fan and a great person. The ride would also be a great test as it is not for the weary; with a 65 and 100 mile option both with plenty of climbing. What I did not expect was the lesson in charitable giving I was about to receive and a reminder that while it takes years to build something great; it can be destroyed overnight.

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Final Day of Bike the US for MS (I finally published it!!) Snohomish, WA to Seattle, WA

The final day of a ride is always special and bittersweet. The ride into Seattle was exactly that. The day would be full of sharing moments with my teammates and riding the wonderful bike trails that make Seattle a special bike place, donating money for MS and a celebration of 4,200 miles for the nine riders crossing the Northern Tier of the US.

As time passes, what will stand out, is the end of the ride and comparing it to the end of my cross country ride last year.  When we arrived in Seattle you could see the joy and bonding of the nine riders and four route leaders that trekked the 4,200 miles from Bar Harbor, Maine to Seattle, Washington.  I would sit back as would my fellow part time riders as the 13 lined up against the water, dipped their tires and sprayed each other with champagne and taking the occasional swig. » Read more..

What a Team Northern Tier 2013, Bike the US for MS Day 13

Friendships and memories are the stuff for lifetimes which make this Bike the US for MS Northern Tier 2013  a special place for me. Nine riders went coast to coast from Maine to Seattle, the rest of us are alumni from previous cross country rides coming in to do a portion and four of the team are support.

Each individual on this trip is exactly that an individual but they have all made impacts on me. Today was about remembering all that is good in the world, looking back and looking forward. Today was about getting a room at a motel and taking turns in the shower, while all crammed into a small motel room just having a great time. It was about a team meeting so we were all on the same page on Sunday when we ride into Seattle. It was about an impromptu team dinner at Piccola Pizza replete with lots of wine, beer and slam dunk pizza. This is one heck of a team. » Read more..