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Broadway businesses banded together for a memorial fundraiser

Cheesesteak Rebellion hosted a celebration of life for a former employee after their sudden passing with help from neighboring companies

By Josh Koerner

A collage of Kayla Pinchart is seen inside of Cheesesteak Rebellion alongside raffle prizes. The memorial event held on Dec. 11 raised over $4,500 for Pinchart’s family after her sudden passing. Josh Koerner photo

On Oct. 1, 2021, Kayla Pinchart passed away unexpectedly.

Mother, horticulture enthusiast, Green Bay native and shining personality, the tragedy of her death was deeply felt by friends and loved ones alike.

To honor her memory, Pinchart’s former place of work Cheesesteak Rebellion (1301 S Broadway) hosted a memorial event and fundraiser for the family alongside State Street Pub (1328 State Street) and Taco Tone’s food truck on Saturday, Dec. 11.

“Her smile would light up the room,” Cheesesteak Rebellion co-owner JoLinda Gorzelanczyk said at the event. “That’s just the kind of person she was.”

Gorzelancyzk, alongside co-owner Jason Burkard, said the event was hosted to honor her memory and connect employees, customers and community members alike.

“We lost a member of our family,” Gorzelanczyk said. “She could brighten a day just by being there.”

The memorial event hosted a variety of raffle prizes and games such as bingo. Over a dozen local Green Bay businesses and nonprofit organizations donated prizes to the night’s events.

While a few eye-catching raffle prizes, such as a wheelbarrow of booze and some elaborate Star Wars-themed Lego sets, were on display at the cheesesteak restaurant, most of the night’s festivities took place across the street at the State Street Pub.

“As a neighborhood community, we try to support one another,” State Street Pub owner Tara Hansen said. “This is our first event partnering with Rebellion, but we do community outreach events regularly.”

Hansen said hosting community-focused events, such as the memorial, is part of the reason she retired from her 30-year run at the sheriff’s department.

“My purpose in my retirement became the community,” Hansen said.

Gorzelanczyk said when the tragedy of Pinchart’s passing happened, Hansen and the State Street Pub were the first ones asking her how they could help the staff and family.

State Street Pub hosted bingo and collected cash tips and donations to support the neighboring business’ family and friends. Josh Koerner

The night’s entertainment was provided by local musician Dani Maus, who is one-half of the musical duo The Rusty Tambourine. Maus said she has spent a large portion of time since 2020 supporting local bars and restaurants and was happy to join the Rebellion staff for the event.

“Back when all the bars were closed my buddy Chris and I went around town playing out of the back of his pickup truck,” Maus said. “We went along, playing from house to house. We would take the money that we made from it and donate it to local bars that we passed along the way. It just feels good to give back. It was very fulfilling for me.”

Maus said she did not know Pinchart very well, but she is very close with Pinchart’s sister and Rebellion employee Kristi Dwyer. Maus said she was happy to donate her tips and performance to her long-time friend.

The night was heart-warming and watching a tight-knit community of friends and work-family come together helped ease the sudden and tragic loss. According to State Street Pub and Cheesesteak Rebellion, the night raised over $4,500 for Pinchart’s family.

“There is so much bad in the world,” Gorzelanczyk said. “Everyone could take a little more time to spread positivity and take care of one another. We try to make that our philosophy. You have to be a part of that change.”

Josh Koerner grew up in De Pere and has a passion for local food. He’s written for The NEWcomer and Nosh Green Bay alongside his personal Facebook food blog, Josh Eats Green Bay.

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