Nassau's Bravest vs. Nassau's Finest in Charity Game
Uniondale, NY. At least 500 people packed the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night as Nassau’s Bravest took on Nassau’s Finest in a Charity Ice Hockey game to raise money for a volunteer firefighter who died in the line of duty. Joeseph “Junior” Sanford, Jr., 43 of Inwood was a family man with 3 kids and a well respected member of the community. He died in December 2014 from injuries he received while battling a house fire. Joe was also a member of the Civil Service Employees Association Nassau Local 830, working at the Department of Public Works. Jerry Laricchiuta is the President of Local 830 and he had this to say about Joe.
“’He was a great family man and an inspirational man who made a difference in many people's lives. He was one of a kind and very well-liked by his coworkers. He left us too young because he loved to help others and gave his life doing so. Joe was a hero and somebody who will be badly missed. We pray for his family and thank the police and firefighters for their kindness, generosity and the help they gave to our fallen brother Joe Sanford.”
Local 830 members attended the game and the union purchased a bunch of tickets to the game in advance.
When asked what made this specific charity game special, veteran PBA Hockey defenseman Todd Gerbasio said “we have done many memorial charity games in the past, but this man gave the ultimate sacrifice as a volunteer and since I work in the 4th it really hits home.” The Inwood Fire Department is located within the boundaries of Nassau’s 4th precinct and firefighters and police officers often respond to emergencies together.
The Nassau Police Benevolent Association, where Todd is an active member, made a donation of $10,000 prior to the start of the game. Nassau PBA President James Carver attended the game and presented the check to Joseph Sanford’s wife and daughter prior to the drop of the first puck. Newsday did a story with a video of that ceremony.
The Nassau PBA went on to beat the Nassau County Volunteer Firefighter 6 to 1. Leading the PBA in scoring was Chris Karmen with 3 goals. Also playing for the PBA were UCOMM All-Stars Mike Dougherty on Defense and Mike Vonnes in the net. The UCOMM All-Stars, also dubbed the UCOMM Radio Ringers, won a the “Face off for a cause” 4 team tournament last year at Abe Stark arena in Brooklyn to benefit the family of fallen Court Officer James Barbieri .
Players of the Nassau County Volunteer Firefighters came out from firehouses across the County in support of their fallen brother. Player volunteers from Merrick, Massapequa, Woodmere, Valley Stream, Jericho, Wantagh, Inwood, Oceanside, Bethpage and Hempstead skated hard and played a clean fair game. Typically, games between cops and firefighers get chippy.