Dec. 18, 2015 By Michael Florio
A Sunnyside pub is holding a fundraiser on Saturday so it can send a U.S. Marine veteran and his family on a free vacation to Aruba.
Jack’s Fire Dept, a bar located at 39-46 Skillman Ave, is looking to raise money for Matias Ferreira, a veteran who lost both of his legs to an improvised explosive device (I.E.D.) while serving in Afghanistan in 2011.
The event, sponsored by Budweiser, will begin at 4 pm and attendees will be able to enjoy free hamburgers and hotdogs, as well as free Budweiser and Bud Light on tap. For entertainment, there will be bagpipers, followed by a DJ.
There will be a 50/50 raffle at the event, with the funds from the raffle going toward the Ferreira family vacation.
“We just ask attendees to buy a raffle ticket or even donate a dollar when they order a beer,” Brian McGowan, who co-owns the bar with his brothers, said.
Ferreira will attend the event along with his wife, child and in-laws, according to McGowan.
Ferreira will be making a stop at the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 2813, located on 43rd Street (btwn 47th and 48th Avenues), before going to Jack’s.
He will be driven from VFW Post 2813 to the bar in a Humvee, with a police escort, according to McGowan.
McGowan expects members of the Marines, as well as local NYPD and FDNY to attend.
In total he expects up to 300 people to come to the event.
On top of the money raised Saturday, Jack’s Fire Dept. has been donating 50 cents from every drink and meal it has sold since Thanksgiving to help cover the costs of the vacation.
In total, McGowan hopes to raise between $7,000 and $8,000 for the family.
“That is my hope,” he said. “Who knows we could raise more than that.”
McGowan is looking forward to the event, as he has wanted to give back to a wounded veteran for quite some time. He was looking for a veteran in the area to help and was eventually put in contact with Ferreira, who lives in Long Island.
While this is the first event of its kind that McGowan will host, he wants to make sure it is not the last.
“I want to make this a regular event, but we still have to work out all the details,” he said. “Whether it becomes an annual event we host or we team up with an organization, we want to give back to others.”
Time: 4 pm
Date: Saturday, Dec. 19
Location: 39-46 Skillman Avenue