Human kindness burns bright at event

As a member of the Guilderland Fire Department, he sent an e-mail to all of his colleagues, asking for donations. From there, with a lot of help from Molly Kaffka, the fire department's vice president, the Mallozzi family got involved by donating space at their club house and food for a dinner.

A donation bucket quickly turned into a full-blown community event.

The dinner started at 5 p.m. and ended at 8 p.m. The benefit cost $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under.

Zabinski said the dinner brought in about $2,700.

As part of the benefit, a bright yellow chopper bike, to go along with the firefighting theme, and built by Zabinski, will be raffled off. The raffle will continue at the Guilderland Police Department's bike rodeo on Saturday, May 17.

Zabinski said he can't believe how many people participated.

"I was shocked by how many people wanted to help out," he said.

Stephanie Kosier shared in that sentiment.

Having lived in her brother-in-law's home for 10 days after the fire and currently in a vacant home owned by Rick Peterson, another firefighter, for free, she said the family is overwhelmed with emotion at the outpouring of support.

"When I walked in the Club House that night and saw all the people there, it was just unbelievable," she said. "There were a lot of people we knew, but there were a lot of people we didn't know, also. And just the fact that they came to help us is truly amazing." She said that she thinks Zabinski is a wonderful kid.

"At the time of the fire, he barely knew me, and yet he was willing to do whatever he could to help."

She said the family will use the money that was raised to buy a new house or to buy furniture for when they get a new home.

"The one thing I learned from all this" she said, "is that there are truly good people in this world who just want to help you." ""

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