Member Login

Buddy LaRosa to Receive Northern Kentuckian of the Year Award

Earlier this year, Donald S. “Buddy” LaRosa was named the 2014 Northern Kentuckian of the Year.
 
Mr. LaRosa will be honored on Friday, May 2 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. The ceremony will include a reception at 11:15 a.m. and a noon luncheon.
 
LaRosa was born in 1930. His father and uncles, who were in the produce business, taught him a strong work ethic. Buddy graduated from St. Bonaventure Grade School, Roger Bacon High School and holds an associate degree in business technology. Buddy served in the U. S. Navy from 1948 until 1952. 
 
He married JoAnn Augustine in 1952. They have four children – Denise, Michael, Mark and Tom - thirteen grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. JoAnn LaRosa attended Mother of Mercy High School, was a devoted housewife, mother and grandmother. She was also an excellent cook and baker.
 
In 1954, Buddy began his first restaurant on Boudinot Avenue in Western Hills. In 1973, a fire nearly destroyed the restaurant. To repay Buddy for his past support of high school athletics, the youth of the community, through their high school coaches, helped Buddy rebuild in forty days what architects said would take six months. This experience strengthened Buddy’s commitment to youth. 
 
In 1975, Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame was founded. The Hall of Fame has seven new inductees each year and honors twelve local high school students for their academic and athletic achievements. LaRosa’s also showcases two athletes weekly on their website. Buddy supports many organizations including Children’s Hospital, Freestore Foodbank, WCET TV 48, and is a board member of LaRosa’s, Inc., Adopt a Class Foundation and Hamilton County Parks. 
 
Buddy is founder of the Greater Cincinnati Police Athletic League and Golden Glove Boxing Programs which provide many inner city youth the opportunity to develop lifetime skills through hard work, discipline, sportsmanship, self-respect and pride. This program has generated National and World Champions as well as Olympic hopefuls.
 
LaRosa’s has forty-nine franchise restaurant locations throughout Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Indiana; sixteen company-owned restaurants and ten specialty locations including Kings Island, the Cincinnati Zoo, Children’s Hospital, Great American Ballpark and Paul Brown Stadium. The One Number Computer Center and Bakery sets LaRosa’s apart for its customer service and product freshness. 
 
LaRosa’s, Inc. employs approximately 1500 team members. 
 
The Northern Kentuckian of the Year Award was established in 1996 to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves as leaders dedicated to the economic and social well-being of the Northern Kentucky region. Covington Catholic hosts this event which brings the community together to show appreciation to an individual that has gone beyond the call of duty to make Northern Kentucky a better place to live and raise a family.
 
This event has raised over $750,000 for Covington Catholic with close to 6,800 in attendance over the past seventeen years. Monies earned through this event help support the tuition assistance program. For reservations or to sponsor this event, please go to www.covcath.org/NKYL or contact the Advancement Office at (859) 448-2247.
 
Photo: Buddy LaRosa/provided