Written by Kelly Vaughen Friday, 16 March 2012 00:00
The Mineola Junior Fire Department held its 16th annual Pasta Dinner fundraiser at Village Hall this past Sunday. Inside the Mineola Fire Department, the junior fire fighters served endless pasta, salad and dessert to those in attendance. The food was catered by La Parma, Churrasqueira Bairrada, and included the over 3,000 meatballs supplied by Piccola Bussola.
Along with the dinner, there was a Chinese and a silent auction. The prizes included elaborate gift baskets all donated by the department’s families and friends. The money raised from the dinner and auction is used for the junior fire department’s events throughout the year, including their training, equipment, trips, and their donations to other organizations.
Regina Correia, whose son Jason is a junior firefighter, believes the pasta dinner is a great way for the village to come together.
“This brings a lot of unity to the community, it brings a family-like community setting,” Correia said. “So that everybody supports each other no matter whether it’s the good times or bad times.
Mayor Scott Strauss, who was a member of the junior fire department himself and the first to become a chief, commended the community’s involvement.
“The public is here supporting, the community is here, neighboring communities are here, neighboring fire departments are here, everybody is supporting the youth organization,” Strauss said. “Its just fantastic.”
Fundraisers like the pasta dinner are what make the Mineola Junior Fire Department’s exchange programs possible. The department has participated in an exchange program with the Hamburg-Stellingen, German Junior Fire Department. The department is also working toward a future exchange program trip to Portugal in the years to come.
Former-chief and co-head advisor of the junior fire department, Gary Mazur, believes the pasta dinner serves as more than just a fundraiser for the department, but also as a service for the community and for the department itself.
“The idea, number one is to bring the community together, support the junior fire department and with what we are able to make each year support the kids programs, and support different charities,” Mazur said. “We teach them community service, to give back to the people that give to them.”