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Joshua Thomas
Shawn Marosek performs in Haslett Park during Saturday's flood benefit.

Joshua Thomas
Mohawk Valley Collective Volunteer Sevim Morawski and Intern Elizabeth Rodgers assemble chicken dinners.

Joshua Thomas
Chloe Hart hula hoops in Haslett Park Saturday.

Joshua Thomas
Attendees of Saturday's Second Annual Standing Strong: River Through Time benefit in Haslett Park.


Benefit raises money for flood victims

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - Updated: 4:28 AM


C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- On Saturday, the second annual Standing Strong: River Through Time benefit took place in Haslett Park, bringing in money for local flood victims. Hundreds attended the benefit, which featured food, raffles, and a variety of music.

Planning for the event began in March, said Mohawk Valley Collective, Inc. Treasurer Tolga Morawski, who said that about 30 volunteers have assisted with the event in some capacity, from planning to helping in the park on Saturday, doing tasks ranging from securing raffle items, requesting food donations, organizing, and placing raffle items online early so that out-of-town people could not only bid on them, but help promote the event.

There were also many items donated by businesses including Stewart's and Freihofer's.

The Mohawk Valley Collective, Inc. has partnered with the Pastor Nancy Ryan at the Reformed Church of Fort Plain. Ryan helped form a committee that deals with the disaster relief needs of the village. They will be provided the money and it'll be dispersed "as they see fit," Morawski explained.

Some money will likely be donated to the family of Dennis Abare, Jr., the 8-year-old Center St. boy burned in a fire July 30. The family was also donated meals on Saturday from the 250 Brooks Barbecue chicken dinners cooked for the event, with sides prepared by Dome49.

The food sold well all day, with about 150 chickens having been sold by the event's mid-way point, by which about 200 people had passed through the park. Many attendees stayed for hours, listening to sets from a variety of bands, including Emeralds of July, who the local area was unfortunately forced to miss when their Fourth on the Third set was cut short by inclement weather.

"I"m so happy that people are appreciative of everything. The people who organized it did a great job. We have a lot of volunteers here, as always," commented Mayor Guy Barton, who noted that one of the emergency flood sirens, purchased in large part to donors from within the community, and from the local area, have been installed in downtown Fort Plain.

He continued of the event, "It's a big plus for the community and we have a great park to handle it all."

Morawski stated that while Standing Strong: River Through Time will take place again next year, the fundraising goal might be broadened so that the event brings in money for local disaster relief, in general -- not just specifically for flood victims.

Joshua Thomas - Mohawk Valley Collective Volunteer Linda Kellett (right) helps Carol and Frank Hill fill out raffle tickets.

Joshua Thomas - Mohawk Valley Collective Volunteer Linda Kellett counts out raffle tickets for Fort Plain Mayor Guy Barton.

Joshua Thomas - The Emeralds of July, featuring singers Rachel Rosencrans and Jess Kaplowitz, play in Haslett Park Saturday.

Joshua Thomas - Attendees of Standing Strong: River Through Time gather in the Haslett Park Saturday for a performance by The Emeralds of July.


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