Wheeling Restaurateur Charlie Schlegel Named Good Samaritan by Youth Services System
Ye Olde Alpha owner honored by Youth Services System
WHEELING — The 2019 Good Samaritan honoree would rather be in the kitchen preparing the dinner than receiving accolades in the banquet hall.
Wheeling restaurateur Charlie Schlegel on Wednesday was named as the recipient of Youth Services System’s annual award. He will be recognized Aug. 16 at the organization’s Good Samaritan dinner at Wheeling Park’s White Palace.
In making the announcement, YSS board member Robert Gaudio cited the generous spirit of Schlegel, 56, who is the owner and chef of Ye Olde Alpha restaurant.
“He (Schlegel) fills a lot of different spaces in that benefactor-giver-volunteer category,” Gaudio said. “He is a very special person to us as an organization, as a nonprofit. … He’s been giving back to us since forever.”
However, Gaudio noted that being on the receiving end of recognition goes against the restaurant owner’s nature.
“He (Schlegel) doesn’t want any of this. He stays in the background,” Gaudio said.
Schlegel admitted he is a reluctant honoree.
“Simply, I was asked and my initial reaction was ‘Absolutely not.’ Because it’s not about me. It’s about you all who do the work,” he said, referring to YSS representatives.
Schlegel said he would accept the Good Samaritan award “as a representative of the Alpha and the employees, the 60 fiercely loyal, committed, compassionate people who have taken this on themselves. … I am honored to be here to represent those people.”
But he added, “I’d like to be in the kitchen, catering the dinner. That would be enough for me.”
Schlegel prepares and donates food for many area charitable events, including the YSS Wheeling SleepOut, which raises money to help homeless youth. He and his staff conduct an annual “Ugly Server” contest that has raised nearly $40,000 in six years to aid children served by YSS.
Regarding his efforts to help local groups, Schlegel said, “This community, these people, you have to say ‘yes.’ You have to help if you want to part of the community.”
Youth Services CEO John Moses lauded Schlegel for being faithful.
“It’s been a joy for you to participate in what we do, and we are grateful,” Moses said.
A native of New England, Schlegel is the oldest son in a family of nine children. His late father was a dentist and philanthropist who taught that giving to others is a foregone conclusion.
“I am my father’s son,” Schlegel said. “You have to help people who need help.”
Schlegel also teaches Sunday school at St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheeling. He has coached several local high school and college soccer teams and the FC Wheeling United travel team.
He and his wife Paula, a Wheeling native, settled in the city 19 years ago to rear their three children closer to her family.