HUMMELS WHARF - Karen Zereconsky has used her musical abilities as the impetus for community benefits since she was a teenager.

After a career in music that took her to international stardom as a pianist, playing at the Vatican, the United Nations and before presidents, she is back in her hometown area and hopes to help its revival through her talents and her knack for tapping into the dollars that large corporations offer to good causes.

As a starting point, Zereconsky, who now calls Ralpho Township home, approached Best Buy in the Monroe Marketplace near Selinsgrove, knowing the company's propensity for helping the communities it serves. Local management at Best Buy noted that the American Legion in New Berlin was a recent customer, and put in motion a plan that became the Armed Forces Day Ride and Celebration, set for Saturday.

Zereconsky said she is hoping to do similar events in the greater Shamokin area, including projects to help senior citizens and the SPCA. She said some of the world's largest corporations have plenty of money that they're willing to give, but someone usually has to approach them. She plans to do just that.

Homes for Our Troops

The Armed Forces Day "poker run" event, which starts at Best Buy, will benefit Homes for Our Troops, a national nonprofit founded in 2004.

A live radio broadcast and registration for riders will start at 9 a.m. The national anthem will kick off a half-hour program at 9:30 a.m., followed by the start of the ride at 10.

Each rider will be given five cards to complete a poker hand. The winner will receive a prize from Best Buy. Lee Wagner, president of the New Berlin American Legion, will head the poker run and coordinate that part of the event.

The 65-mile run will have stops at Beaver Springs Grocery and the Purple Cow near Lewisburg and finish back at Best Buy. Motorcycle riders may register for the poker run for $5. The fee helps raise money for Homes for Our Troops.

Best Buy will offer specials Saturday for those with military identification. AT&T and Verizon will set up tents outside the store and will offer free giveaways.

Brian Locke, Best Buy district manager of human resources, said the company is committed to helping veterans.

"It is our duty and our honor to assist severely injured veterans and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor and to coordinate the process of building a home that provides maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently," he said through a press release about the event.

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