NORTH SALEM — A hockey stick signed by Wayne Gretzky. A handmade dollhouse. GEICO bobbleheads signed by spokesman Brian Carney. Patrons at the popular Blazer Pub often bring their treasures to bartender Tommy Hunt. On St. Patrick’s Day, he climbs atop a milk crate to auction them off, raising thousands of dollars for children’s charity Friends of Karen.
“Tommy is an example of having an angel in an unexpected place,” says Judith Factor, executive director of Friends of Karen. “He’s a champion.”
“I’m a catalyst,” corrects Hunt. “Because I can make a difference, I want people to know they can make a difference, too.”
Every St. Patrick’s Day, the roadside pub is a madhouse, and this year will be no exception, especially because the auction will be held on both Saturday and Sunday. Hunt and the wait staff juggle hundreds of orders for corned beef and cabbage, and pull enough beer to fill a tanker. But it’s the chance to do good for a local charity that makes him proud.
“What Friends of Karen does is just amazing,” Hunt says. “Each year the auction gets bigger, and that means more help for sick children and their families.”