PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – The owner of the landmark South Philadelphia cheesesteak stand who sparked a controversy by telling customers to order in English is scheduled to have cancer surgery at a New York hospital. A manager at Geno’s Steaks says 71-year-old owner Joey Vento is to have surgery on Thursday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.
Geno’s manager Joe Perno says that Vento was diagnosed with colon-rectal cancer “a few months ago” after having a colonoscopy. In June 2006, Vento and Geno’s grabbed headlines for two small signs posted at the shop stating, “This is America: When Ordering, Please Speak English.” Vento said he posted the signs due to concerns over the debate on immigration reform and the increasing number of people who couldn’t order in English.
Having lost more than a few members of my family to Cancer, I emphasize what Mr. Vento’s family is going through. To many of us Joey Vento is a local hero and legend for standing up to the forces of political correctness that threaten the American way of life. A self-made success story and staunch supporter of Philly police and firefighters I can only say that they don’t make em’ like that any more. Best wishes to the Vento family, get well soon Mr. Vento.