Volunteers prepare food for a benefit held recently for Amy and Howard Drake of Ausable Forks.
After a fire took Amy and Howard Drake’s house the evening of Jan. 3, the community put their heads together to make a plan to help.
Community members put together a benefit spaghetti dinner/auction Jan. 18 at the American Legion Post 504 in Au Sable Forks with high hopes that it could help the Drake family and give them a new start.
“The benefit was a huge success,” said Sadie Hozley, event coordinator of the benefit. “It was perfect…no glitches at all.”
The cost of the benefit was $8 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. Cindi Murphy and volunteers served dinner from 4 to 6 p.m., serving more than 400 dinners. A live auction, organized by Jessica Douglass and Jennifer Pulsifer, followed at 7 p.m. and lasted until 2 a.m. that consisted of donated items from the community, alongside a raffle and 50/50.
Throughout the event, music filled the Legion from Mike Mussen Sr., of “Music Inc. D.J. Service” and local musician Miss Tally Duell, who both volunteered their services. Also, a bake sale took place, coordinated by Jessie Furnia, with donated goods ranging from banana breads to Dana Haywood’s popular peanut butter brownies.
Before, during and after the benefit, monetary donations were collected by Paula McGreevy to assist the Drake family in their time of need.
“It was a huge success not only for the monetary donations but also for the wonderful outpouring from all of the community for their love, time and baking skills,” Furnia said.
All proceedings from the benefit went to the Drake family. Amy Drake said the family made out okay, and she was very surprised from the turnout.
“All of the seats were taken, and rows of people were standing in the back,” Hozley said. “It was unbelievable.”
Various guests said people parked throughout the small town, making some people walk from blocks away. People traveled from Keeseville, Lake Placid, Peru, Wilmington, Jay and more to support the Drake family.
“Amy and Howard are such core people in our little town,” Furnia said. “They are some of the kindest and most dedicated people among our community.”
Being life-long residents, Howard is a fireman and a town worker. Alongside his wife Amy, they played big parts of both the annual Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch tournaments in July. Being such a large part of the community, local residents felt they needed to give back to them after the fire.
The fire took place around 6 p.m. Jan. 3 on Golf Course Road. The fire departments of Au Sable Forks, Keeseville, Jay, Upper Jay, Peru and South Plattsburgh worked in frigid temperatures and ice-slick surfaces to try to douse the fire that witnesses say was showing through the roof of the house.
After the benefit, the community continued, and is still continuing, to help the Drake family in their time of need, something that is normal in small communities like Au Sable Forks.
“For being a small little town nestled in the Adirondacks, I am so proud of our community as we always pull together for one another,” Furnia said. “We are always here to help someone back up.”