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Fire Department Raises Funds for Wounded Warriors

New Hyde Park merchants and others donate to a raffle and Chinese auction.

The community came out to the on Veterans Day for the seventh annual Wounded Warriors fundraiser.

"The New Hyde Park Fire Department is proud to be one of the 39 local Nassau County Fire Departments that actively supports ," said ex-Chief Thomas Smith. "We've been a part of it for seven years now; we hold fundraisers and opportunities for donations year-round."

This particular fundraiser thrives on donations from local merchants as well as the support of the community at large. With a goal to raise thousands of dollars, hundreds came out to show support and browse the exiciting raffle prizes.

Prizes ranged from gift certificates to sports memorabilia and everything in between. Local businesses such as the Walk Street Tavern and Hand Rolled Bagels contributed, along with some big name donors such as the New York Jets, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and the New Jersey Nets.

A Santonio Holmes signed poster courtesy of the Jets and a Mike Mattau signed cap courtesy of the Islanders were among the highlights of the raffle.

The Chamber of Commerce also provided its own donation of $500 to the cause.

Entertainment was provided by the musical talents of Rick & Ted, while all of the food and food service was donated courtesy of Kenny Thoma and Rich Sharvin of the .

"Kenny and everyone over at the diner are really great for donating time to our cause," said Smith. "Not to mention that the food is great."

While Thoma is not a member of the department, he still finds it important to be a part of the program.

"It's a great cause and I'm really happy to help," said Thoma. "The department is great for everything that they do to help wounded veterans.

Every year a group from the department takes a trip down to Bethesda Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune and Womack Army Medical Center at Ft. Bragg. With money raised from the raffle and donations from the community in hand the department hands out everything from toiletries to clothes to our wounded veterans.

"This is the first year I can't make the trip," said Ed Waldrin. "I look forward to going every year. It's sad that they are sort of forgotten and seem to get lost in the system. The little things like white sweat socks and t-shirts are valued so much because all they have are their military issued clothing."

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