Story by Lon Tytell
A 10-13 means to “Assist Police Officer,” and that’s exactly what the Warwick P.B.A. and Warwick Town Police Officers did at a fundraiser held in the Pine Island Firehouse on Sat., Apr. 29.
Over 500 people attended the fundraiser to help Warwick Police Officer James Feragola and his wife, Judy. There were over 160 items donated by businesses and individuals for a Penny Social. Some Warwick residents donated money to help the family and proceeds from a 50/50 and the sale of T-shirts also generated additional revenues.
“James has given over 20 years of his life to serve the public. He has answered the call for help too many times to count. He has given over and over and will continue to do so for many more years. This is what we do as Police Officers. That’s what we signed up for. The worst call that we ever get is the call to help one of our own. We’re always out there helping everyone else. We don’t expect to ever need help ourselves. But we are human. We do need help sometimes and this time, help is coming in a big way,” said Warwick Police Officer David Serviss, a member of the 10-13 fundraiser committee.
Serviss and Feragola met while they were working as investigators at the Orange County Sherriff’s Office. Both of them left this job in March of 2008 and became Police Officers in the Town of Warwick Police Department. They were assigned to the same squad with the same days off. Serviss learned that Feragola’s wife, Judy, who had survived cancer previously, now had blood cancer and the chemo treatment had not worked. The doctors had to try a new medicine and Judy had to be hospitalized.
C.J. Bulnes and his wife, Denise, friends of David and Melissa Serviss, were delighted to see the community come together to help a fellow officer. The Kunisch family also attended to help someone that was always there for the community.
“We know first- hand that this is the greatest community in the world. We are happy to be on the giving end,” said Thomas Kunisch.
“The fundraiser comes from the bottom of my heart. I have lost close friends from 9-11 due to cancer as well as my mom and dad,” said Police Officer Pete Guastamacchia, another member of the organizing committee. “As a Police Officer, we are a tight knit family who support one another. When we need help, we always can lean on one another. This event was put together to show not only our pride as Police Officers but what an extended family truly means. This event could not be done without the support of our community, friends, and volunteers.”
Elise Johansen representing “Be The Match” set up a booth to inform the attendees at the 10-13 fundraiser of the marrow donor registry, which encourages people to be the one to save a life. This is the last life-saving line for blood cancer patients, like Judy Feragola. Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer and 70 percent of patients needing a marrow transplant do not have a fully matched donor in their family. To register online, visit: www.BeTheMatch.org.