The year 2012 was a tough one for Deedee Zgonis. In that year, her husband John died of a heart attack.
The loss of her husband was already hard for Zgonis, but she was also obliged to take over management of the family business — a pizzeria in Bedford, New Hampshire.
Over the years, Zgonis helped at Pizza Bella from time to time, but was not involved in the daily operations of running the restaurant. With her husband gone, she had to learn the entire process.
“I just watched and learned and asked questions,” Zgonis told the Union Leader. “Without the people that work here, I would’ve been lost.”
It was not easy for Zgonis, but she persevered. One of Zgonis’ daughters, Vicki, left her job at a law firm to help her mother at the restaurant.
Then one day, Zgonis received good news from Eastern Bank. She was the winner of Eastern Bank’s “Good Things Happen to Good People,” campaign and won a weekend spa getaway to Florida.
Unbeknownst to Zgonis, Debbie Blondin, her banker, had nominated her.
“She has a fabulous local business, but … she’s one of those people who gives probably more than she gets,” Blondin said.
The trip was a chance for Zgonis to finally relax. Accompanied by a friend, she happily left for a weekend.
When she returned, Zgonis had another major surprise waiting for her.
According to the Union Leader, it turns out the getaway spa trip was not the real gift. Family, friends, and bank employees needed Zgonis away so they could renovate Pizza Bella.
Zgonis was speechless upon seeing the new interior of the restaurant.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “My knees just buckled from under me.”
Zgonis always wanted to remodel the restaurant, and now her wish came true.
The occasion would not have been complete without the presence of Zgonis’ two other daughters, Evangelia and Themie, whom the bank flew in from out-of-state to surprise her.
“When they walked in, I screamed even louder,” Zgonis told the Union Leader.
Zgonis was thrilled and grateful for everything given to her, a sentiment echoed by her daughter.
“We just cannot describe how grateful we are for this entire process, and how beautiful Pizza Bella is looking,” Themie Zgonis said.
When reflecting on the experience, Zgonis was incredibly appreciative.
“People come into my life that are just beautiful people, and I’m lucky that way,” she said.