Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:00
Everyone was out for the cause on Wednesday, May 7 at Jericho Terrace for Night on the Town in Mineola. Event reps were hoping to raise $100,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Long Island (LLSLI) and as of two weeks before the event, they had sold 700 tickets.
Event coordinator and Piccola Bussola owner Tony Lubrano said he expects the final tally to breach $80,000, surpassing the 2012 event total of $72,500.
“Each year it seems to get better, but this year it was leaps and bounds ahead,” Lubrano said. “The crowd was larger and energetic. We definitely raised more money than recent years.”
Lubrano’s family has been touched by leukemia, specifically his late father, Pasquale. The last event, in 2012, marked the first recipient of the Pasquale Lubrano Community Service, former state Senator Michael Balboni.
“It’s a record-setting event,” Michael Balboni said last week.
This year, the award went to Senator Jack Martins and CPA Michael Costa, who’s sponsored the event in past years. Costa’s wife, Camille, is a 16-year lymphoma survivor. He said the cause hits home with his family.
“I appreciate the honor,” Costa said. “I like to give and I find when I give back, I get back ten-fold.”
“Tonight alone, I expect we raised [a lot] and that’s a great thing,” Martins said. “Through your generosity, your hard work and support, you have made a difference.”
LLSLI has benefited from each of the last three Night on the Town events.
“I just want to say thank you to Tony, the Mavericks and everyone who came out tonight,” said LLSLI Executive Director Sarah Lipsky.
The event also honored Mineola resident and community pillar John DaVanzo, who passed away in March, and Frank Ferrante, a past Night on the Town donor and Lubrano award winner. In 2013, Ferrante was battling cancer and passed away later that year.
“It’s a great fundraising, honoring great people in the community,” said Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss. “Plus, you get a chance to sample local restaurants and hopefully people enjoyed the food, the camaraderie and they’ll frequent the restaurants in town. Another great night in Mineola.”
Two Mineola World War II veterans, in Ray Vaz and Tom Scardino, were recognized by Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano at Night on the Town. Mangano commended them for their service.
“What can we say other than we owe our freedom to them, who shed their blood for our country,” Mangano said.
Night on the Town originally supported the Corpus Christi School. A one-year hiatus occurred when the school was closing and Lubrano approached co-chairman Harry Zapiti for help on a charity event to raise money for leukemia, giving Night on the Town the rebirth it needed.
“It was a great night, at least 1,000 people,” said Zapiti. “These are friends, true friends. This is a great venue and I’m glad everyone came out to support the cause.”
Sponsored by the United Mavericks, a networking group of local business people, Night on the Town could flourish more than ever, says Rick Collins, a Maverick and Mineola attorney.
“A Maverick is somebody that leads others,” he said. “It’s someone who looks at a problem and wants to make it better. We see something, we do something. We’re not talkers. We’re doers.”
The Mavericks have been a philanthropic force in the area, most notably its effort in organizing a local contingent to travel to the Tunnel To Towers last September. The event retraces the steps of FDNY fireman Stephen Siller who abandoned his truck and ran through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to help during the Sept. 11 attacks.
“We’re from all different walks of life, but we all have one goal and that is to help,” said Maverick Nick Valastro to the crowded room.
The 2014 gala saw the likes of Donna Vivino, who plays the witch in Broadway’s smash Wicked, sing a few tunes and Edward de Corsia’s New York’s Most Dangerous Big Band perform classics from all eras.
For more photos from Night on the Town, go to facebook.com/mineolaamerican.