‘Frienemies’ wait tables during charity event

PARKERSBURG – An unlikely duo from Ritchie County has raised more than $2,500 for Red Cross disaster relief in Oklahoma.

Brian Morton and Anthony Farr, better known to friends and community members as “Morty” and “Ant,” respectively, donated $2,500 to the Parkersburg chapter of the American Red Cross Wednesday, with a promise of more to come. The two raised the money during a three-hour fundraiser May 30 in Harrisville.

The pair waited tables at the Pizza House Family Restaurant in Harrisville, with tips left by customers going to the Red Cross.

“We competed with each other to see who’d get the most tips. We agreed that whoever lost had to also donate $100,” Farr said. “As much as it pains me to admit it, he won.”

Morton brought in more than $900 in tips, which Farr collected more than $600. Despite being named the winner, Morton also put in $100 to match Farr’s donation.

“We ended up with $1,863.71,” Farr said. “It wasn’t the service, because we were terrible. It was because people in the community wanted to help.”

Morton said he was dubious when the pair came up with the plan to wait tables for charity.

“I said we would be lucky to get $500 total,” he said. “We ended up raising $1,600 in just three hours. That was crazy.”

Still more donations came in through the duo’s Facebook “Morty and Ant Page” which they used to drum up support for the event. Some donations came from outside of the area, including a $250 pledge from a friend in Tennessee. All told the pair was able to make a $2,500 pledge to the Red Cross, earmarked for disaster relief in Oklahoma.

Sharon Kesselring, financial development director for the local Red Cross chapter, said it was an amazing feat.

“This proves a couple of people can make a big difference and the power of social media to help make that difference,” she said.

“We did nothing here,” Farr said. “The real work was done by the citizens of the community. They were the ones who came out and supported our ridiculous effort.”

In November the pair had a similar outpouring of support when they offered to spend a night outside if people would pledge money to the local Salvation Army shelter. That effort too netted about $2,500 for charity.

Morton and Farr will hold another fundraiser at the end of the month for the Oklahoma tornado victims. On June 28 a family movie night will be held at the old Harrisville High School gymnasium. The event begins around 6 p.m. with the movie starting at dark. Concession stands, face painting and other events will be available.

“There is no charge,” Morton said. “We are just asking for a donation for tornado relief.”

Those proceeds too will go to the Red Cross, they said.

While the two disagree on whether they are “friends” in the classic sense, saying the phrase “frienemies” better describes their banter. Regardless, their playful back-and-forth generates interest from the community, and the duo say they will continue to use that interest to support important causes.

“It engages people,” Farr said. “It really works.”

For more information on upcoming fundraising events or to just keep tabs on these two, visit their page at www.facebook.com/MortyAndAnt.