The Greater Severna Park and Arnold Chamber of Commerce (GSPACC) is celebrating Independence Day and the reopening of the economy with the annual Fourth of July parade, led this year by Eddie Conway, the owner of Garry’s Grill. Conway is being recognized for his charitable efforts during the pandemic.
Conway was surprised when Liz League, the CEO of the GSPACC, asked him to be the grand marshal. Although he was honored, Conway said he was just being himself. During the pandemic, Conway and his staff have worked tirelessly to make a difference in people’s lives.
“I might be the face, but they're the reason that I'm the grand marshal, because of all the hard work they put in throughout the years,” Conway said of his staff.
The staff at Garry’s Grill have always been active in the community, but this year, Conway said, it became increasingly important.
“It was a tough year, but at the same token, it kind of gave me my ‘why,’” Conway said. “I always knew that I was the type of person who loved helping people. This year allowed me and my staff to show our customers who we are and how we care so much about people.”
Most recently, Conway showed his appreciation to his staff, whom he affectionately refers to as his “extended family,” by putting a portion of the night’s profits on their checks.
“With COVID kind of slowing, I wanted my extended family to know I still have their backs,” Conway said. “And we're still moving forward together. But also, I want the community to know that it's about them. It's not about me.”
Conway went all out this year for the virtual Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Maryland. After it was announced that the plunge would be virtual in 2021, Conway was listening to his car radio when the broadcasters said, “Just because we can't plunge like we normally do doesn't mean we can't still raise money in a fun way.” This inspired Conway to set up a dunk tank that he had used for a previous fundraiser and recruit other businesses to take one slot each and compete to raise the most money. The winner would earn a dinner catered by Garry’s Grill.
“That was probably, honestly, one of the top three moments of my entire life,” Conway said of the fundraiser's success. Garry’s Grill raised over $35,000 for the Special Olympics Maryland and was ranked in the top four for money earned by businesses. The three companies ahead of it were Aerotek, Xfinity, and Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE.)
“Those three companies are gigantic,” Conway said. “They're huge, and then you’ve got Garry’s Grill.”
Garry’s Grill has hosted fundraisers for Partners in Care, SPAN, Harvest for the Hungry, Tucker’s Teddies, various schools in the area, first responders, and donated 1,000 meals to people in need. The total donations, including the Polar Bear Plunge, are over $60,000. Conway said he has always considered Garry’s Grill to be more than a restaurant. He not only considers his staff to be family but also his customers and the community. He hopes that the community will continue to join together to make a difference.
“It’s a big deal to know that when you do something for the greater good, people are going to assemble and we’ll do it together,” Conway said. “You never feel alone. It's pretty incredible.”