Hundreds support fire victims at Shamokin benefit
SHAMOKIN - "Overwhelmed."
That was how Robert Wheary and Antoinette (Toni) Scicchitano described their reaction to a fundraiser Saturday evening that will help them recover from a fire that destroyed their homes Oct. 9.
Wheary, Scicchitano and her ex-boyfriend, John Schulein, lost nearly everything when a fire of undetermined origin destroyed 49-53 N. Berry St. in the Boydtown section of Coal Township.
An estimated 400 people were expected to cram into the Knights of Columbus building during the course of the $15 night.
Scicchitano tried, unsuccessfully, to hold back tears.
"I feel like I don't deserve this. I feel like I should get involved the next time something tragic happens to someone," he said. "I most definitely will."
Heather Nahodil, who knows Wheary and Scicchitano through their children, started organizing the event a week after the fire. The preparations paid off.
Fifty items, including a iPad Mini and Coors Light Mountain Bike, were donated and used in a Chinese auction. Also donated were finger foods, 400 hot dogs and 80 pounds of ground beef.
Five local bands donated their time. Playing 45-minute sets were Bush Pounders, Four Car Pile-Up, Warren Dane, R.A.T.L. and Dying to Live.
Nahodil said $700 was donated before the event and that the final amount will be split 50/50 between Scicchitano and Wheary.
"(Before the fire) I never even met Heather," Wheary said. "It's amazing. It's amazing."