Fundraiser Held for Victims of the Haverstraw Gas Explosion

BY SHERLY JOURDAIN

A spaghetti dinner and silent auction took place at the West Haverstraw Community Center on March 4 to benefit the Fair Grounds II Disaster Fund.

The Local 844 Women’s Committee from the Civil Service Employee Association (CSEA) and the American Legion Leo Ladders Post 130 of Thiells coordinated the event to raise money for the disaster fund established by the Town of Haverstraw to help victims of the town house explosion that occurred at the Fair Grounds II back in January.

Lisa Jacobson, chairwoman of the committee, helped coordinate the event. Also a member of the Leo Ladders Post 160 Ladies Auxiliary, Jacobson reached out to post Commander Don Joachim for a joint partnership of the charity event.

The committee normally hosts community events and decided to raise money for the Fairgrounds II Disaster Fund as their first charity event for 2012. “All of us are part of different fire departments in the county. So we saw this fund…we had a meeting and we decided that this is one of the funds that we would try to raise money for,” said Jacobson.

The event started at 3 p.m. Volunteers prepared and served food to attendees as they came in to donate the minimum $20. Life-long Garnerville resident Elsa Marrero came with her fiancé Sam to support the cause. “The thought of just losing everything actually petrifies me. And I would hope that God forbid [if] anything like that happened to me that people would come out and support and donate,” said Marrero.

Mirlene Millien, Spring Valley resident and member of the CSEA, also attended the event. “We enjoyed the dinner and since I’m with the ladies here, it was a nice event,” said Millien.

The event raised $1,000 for the disaster fund. The organizers had hoped to raise at least $5,000, but the amount will still be donated. The event took weeks to plan and since it was not as successful as the planners had hoped, they may attempt another fundraiser in the future but it most likely will not be a dinner function.

Despite the March 4 turnout, the fund has hit its initial fundraising goals of $10 – 20,000. All told, after several fundraisers, West Haverstraw Mayor John Ramundo said the community has raised over $15,000.

For more information on the Fair Grounds II Disaster Fund, the public has been advised to contact the Village of West Haverstraw and the Town of Haverstraw respectively: 845-947-2800 and 845-429-2200.