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Benefit lunch to help 1 of Olcott's top volunteers

A fundraiser is being planned to help defray the medical expenses of Gary Cammarata, who has been one of Olcott's go-to community volunteers. (Courtesy of Robert Cammarata)

A fundraiser is being planned to help defray the medical expenses of Gary Cammarata, who has been one of Olcott's go-to community volunteers. (Courtesy of Robert Cammarata)

OLCOTT --Gary Cammarata, one of Olcott's go-to volunteers, will be the one the community is helping at a benefit lunch on Sunday, Nov. 20 to help defray his medical expenses.

Family and friends will gather from noon to 4 p.m. at the Olcott Fire Hall to raise funds for Cammarata.

Cammarata has long served as treasurer of the Olcott Beach Carousel Park and has stepped up to support many other local charities and organizations, as well, according to his friends.

“Gary works tirelessly -- and on a volunteer basis -- to ensure that the Olcott Carousel Park is able to operate and provide entertainment to all of the area’s children,” said Rosemary Sansone, park president. “And Gary’s always there to volunteer his time and energy to any cause that needs him.

“He’s faced significant health challenges, and this benefit has been organized so that the community can give back to a man who has given us all so much,” she added.

“Gary would like to be at the fundraiser, but we don’t know if he will be able to make it,” said Sansone.

Due to his health, Cammarata had to retire from his family restaurant business, Cammarata’s Restaurant, which is now operated by his brother, Robert.

The event includes lunch provided by Cammarata’s Restaurant, basket raffles, a 50/50 split and silent auction items. In addition, music will be provided by the Sophisticats from 1 to 3 p.m. Lunch will include pulled pork and grilled chicken breast sandwiches, pasta with red sauce and meatballs, and salad. Desserts are being donated by friends, and a cash bar will be offered.

Among the items to be raffled or auctioned are a lottery ticket board; patio table and chairs donated by Confer Plastics; three-night stay at the Forest Suites Resort at Heavenly Village in Lake Tahoe, Nevada and area attraction gift certificates donated by an old school friend Mark Ansteth; an Adirondack chair donated by Flint Brothers in Newfane; a 40" flat screen television, courtesy of Jim Hedley and Cindy Horner; and a 26" flat screen television donated by Paul and Betsy Higgins.

Cammarata has endured 14 spinal surgeries, including four since June. Serious infections acquired during a hospital stay now require Cammarata undergo expensive, long-term antibiotic treatments.  He also has had co-pays for medications, hospital stays and rehab center care.

Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at Cammarata's Restaurant, 6336 Robinson Road, Lockport; Mariner's Landing, 1540 Franklin St., Olcott; at the door on the day of the event; or by contacting Sansone at 778-7066. Checks should be made payable to: Friends of Gary Cammarata and may be mailed to Sansone at P.O. Box 308, Olcott, NY 14126.

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