Pino’s Italian Kitchen & Bar was overflowing with pride and patriotism as Castle Pines came out to support Pino’s Eat for a Cause 9/11. The fundraiser was a heartwarming occasion which benefited the families of fallen first responders. Lives were remembered and celebrated, while an abundance of personal stories and of memories from September 11, 2001 we shared.
Article and photos by Lynn Zahorik
“Never forget” was the resounding sentiment at Pino’s Kitchen & Bar on September 11. More than 400 people, including chiefs and officers from Franktown, South Metro and Arvada fire departments came out in support of Pino’s Eat for a Cause 9/11 fundraiser. Gathered together in solidarity, attendees reflected on the 17th anniversary of 9/11 over fine Italian food and wine. Pino’s owner, Joseph Sabia, spoke to the community about the ongoing health challenges for 9/11 first responders. A long standing tradition at firefighters’ funerals, the Colorado Emerald Society Bagpipers paid tribute to those departed and all those suffering, with a hauntingly beautiful performance of “Amazing Grace.”
More than $7,500 was raised to help those in need through a charity wine pull, a silent auction of donated fire department-related items and 10 percent of Pino’s dining proceeds that day. The funds collected will support the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. This nonprofit organization provides significant financial support in the form of trust accounts and mortgage payoffs to those survived by first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The connection to this foundation is heartfelt for Sabia.
Joseph Sabia was in his 16th year of his 30 years as a volunteer firemen for the Commack Fire Department on Long Island when the north tower fell on 9/11. He was one of the thousands of first responders who assisted the Fire Department of the City of New York with rescue operations. Sabia lost 343 of his fellow firefighters at Ground Zero that day. One of Joe’s dear friends and fellow firefighters, Chris Raguso, recently lost his life in Iraq protecting our freedom. A firefighter and member of the Air National Guard, Chris had made it a life mission to prevent 9/11 from happening again. Tunnel to Towers has assisted his grieving family with financial and spiritual support so that his family has the chance of rebuilding.
September 11 will forever be a day of emotional remembrance for Americans. Sabia reminds us to “Never Forget” through his passionate efforts to support those who made the ultimate sacrifice surrounding the events of that tragic day. In only its second year, Pino’s Eat For a Cause 9/11 was a shining example of Castle Pines at its best.
Amazed by the turnout, a humbled Sabia reflected, “There was an outpouring of generosity and caring from all parts of the community. I didn’t ask anyone to do anything, but they just did. A husband and wife came in and strapped on an apron and washed dishes and pots just to help!”
For more information on the Tunnel to Towers Foundation visit tunnel2towers.org.