Rizzi, Matsch: Local business, nonprofit ‘2 gems in our community’

Posted 12/29/20

Every community seems to have those little hidden gems that folks aren’t really aware of. I’d like to share a couple right here in Apache Junction that truly deserve to be recognized and …

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Rizzi, Matsch: Local business, nonprofit ‘2 gems in our community’


Every community seems to have those little hidden gems that folks aren’t really aware of. I’d like to share a couple right here in Apache Junction that truly deserve to be recognized and thanked.

The first one is Arnold’s Auto, a family owned and operated used car sales, automotive repair and body shop. Many may know Arnold’s has been around for 67 years. We’ve even purchased a truck and would highly recommend them to anyone for the fair and honest way they do business, but what most don’t know is how Arnold’s helps and give back to our community.

In 2004 my husband and I helped organize a “Stuff The Bus” Toy Drive for the local school district and continued the tradition after I retired. We turned the drive into an annual business challenge to collect the most food clothing and toys for local nonprofits that assist families.

Arnold’s Auto has participated every single year since 2004 and let me just say, these folks take a challenge seriously. All but one year Arnold’s Auto has not only won the challenge but they’ve consistently contributed hundreds of items each year to help make Christmas a little brighter for others in our community. My husband and I were trying to add up just how much they’ve given over the years. One year the Arnold’s family donated almost 2,000 items, completely blowing every business challenger out of the competition. These folks are truly amazing and generous.

Business challengers have often wondered just how Arnold’s was able to come through with so much year after year after year. They have donated tens of thousands of dollars in food, clothing and toys for the less fortunate in our community and when it’s not the holiday season they collect change and food to help keep our local food bank replenished all year long.

We are so grateful for the generosity of the Arnold’s Auto family and their genuine spirit of giving not only at Christmastime but throughout the year.

Another hidden gem is Paws 4 Life, a nonprofit service-dog training organization that has been here in Apache Junction since 2006. Tuni House runs this organization with the help of her husband, Todd. Many have seen the training area at the dog track which has grown into quite an impressive outdoor facility.

While the obvious is that Paws 4 Life trains dog owners to train their dogs and they train dogs to be service animals, what many don’t know is how Tuni and Todd House are helping teenagers through their organization. We’ve known for years that teenagers can volunteer and gain community service hours for future scholarships or the courts if they have gotten into some trouble but until recently we really didn’t know the deep impact this program makes in the lives of struggling teens.

After the unexpected passing of our daughter, Tuni reached out to us and asked if our teenaged granddaughter would be interested in the program to become a dog trainer. I don’t even have words to express how this program has impacted our granddaughter other than it probably helped save her life in more ways than one. With the leadership of “momma Tuni,” the teens in this program are given an opportunity to be themselves while gaining experience that can be used on future resumes and also as a potential career for life. While training and working with dogs, the teens learn many, many life skills that help them gain self esteem, confidence, responsibility and so much more. Tuni, Todd and each of the volunteers who work with these kids have huge hearts and they know the true meaning of giving all year long.

We are grateful for the endless hours, time and effort that Paws 4 Life invests in the youth of our community!

Neither of these hidden gems in our community seek attention or accolades. They do what they do year after year because they truly love their community and have a passion to help others. What an impact they make. Please join us in recognizing and giving thanks to these two gems in our community. Thank you Arnold’s Auto and Paws 4 Life for all you do.

Editor's note: Christa Rizzi and Robert Matsch are residents of Apache Junction.