Pizza boxes honor injured marine at South Jersey shop

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Monday, September 4, 2023
Pizza boxes pay tribute to injured marine at South Jersey shop
20-year-old Lance Corporal Harrison Whitman is now the face of pizza sales that support the Warrior Foundation.

AUDUBON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The Doukali brothers are co-owners of Genova Pizza. The small shop is where the tradition started by their father, an immigrant from Corsica, France, is carried on.

"Anytime we have a chance to give back to the community, we definitely take that opportunity," said Ali Doukali.

That opportunity came earlier this year when 2-year-old Callen McDonnell was diagnosed with leukemia. Doukali decided to help the family by printing a cartoon of 'Super Cal' onto pizza boxes. Then, a portion of the proceeds could help McDonnell's family cover some of the costs associated with his battle.

After seeing the tremendous response and selling roughly 300 pizzas, Doukali wanted to create his own new tradition.

And starting in September, the second pizza box hero is 20-year-old Harrison Whitman of Audubon. The member of the United States Marine Corps was once a cook and delivery boy at Genova Pizza.

But while he was stationed in Arizona, Whitman passed out and lost control of his lower limbs. It was the result of a functional neurological disorder with an unknown cause.

"You just gotta roll with the punches that life throws at you and move on," he said.

Whitman is now stationed with Wounded Warrior Battalion West in San Diego, California, as he receives physical therapy. He is expected to make a full recovery and hopes to become a commercial pilot in the future.

When he was selected as the next hero for Genova Pizza's boxes, he decided he wanted a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Warrior Foundation.

"I'm just really grateful for Genova's for doing this for me and especially the Warrior Foundation that helps us out so much," he said. "It just feels great to give back."

Whitman's cartoon face will appear on boxes of Grandma-style pizzas only. The honor will last throughout the month of September. Then, the Doukali brothers hope to select a new hero and commission new artwork every three months.

"As long as I'm here and my brother's here, we're going to keep pushing and keep honoring new and new people and definitely giving back to the community any way we can," said Ali Doukali.

To learn more about Genova Pizza or the Warrior Foundation, visit their websites.

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