Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Fundraiser to Help Rebuild Webster

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Rochester: Fundraiser to Help Rebuild Webster
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Following the funerals of Lt. Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, the Webster community has shifted its focus to helping the residents rebuild their homes. The Rochester home builders association is offering some free services and the community got creative with another fundraiser to help the neighborhood get back on its feet.

Music blared from one of Webster's usual hangout spots, home to many familiar faces, some of which were missing from the crowd.

"We have our parties here and we just had one in December. Chip was here."

Almost two weeks after the tragic shooting, Lt. Mike Chipperini and Tomasz Kaczowka have been laid to rest and the two injured firefighters have just returned home.

"It was all so hard, everything was so hard but the residents seemed to have gotten lost," said event organizer Jeanne Klem-Goonan.

Parts of Lake Road is unrecognizable to those who have lived there for years.

"It's surreal, you just look at it like you can't believe it's your own backyard," said Fran Beth of Irondequoit.

The community held a fundraiser at Hatter's Pub Saturday, raffling off gift baskets and donations. All the proceeds will benefit the families who lost their homes on Christmas Eve.

"They woke up in someone else's bed, under someone else's roof and had no home to go back to," said Klem-Goonan.

But for Debbie Lacata, who worked with Lt. Chiapperini at the Webster Police Department, getting back to normal hasn't been easy.

"He was one of the most fun guys you ever want to have for a boss," said Licata. "This week was quiet, somber, everybody is trying to focus on moving forward but you could tell in everybody's eyes, it's different, you don't hear the giggle, laugh, 'Good Morning Ladies,' he made the department."

While the community is still grieving a great loss, they find comfort in being able to help.

"It's probably a drop in the bucket to what is really needed but it's nice that people are coming together and see that everybody does care," said Beth.

The event raised about $5,000 dollars. The community chest is continuing to take donations for the firefighters families.

The Community Chest is also accepting online donations at webcommchest.org. Please indicate that your donation is for 12/24.

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