GREENFIELD TWP. — On Saturday, Octo- ber 21, the 2nd Annual Andrew Mazza Foundation Chicken BBQ Benefit will take place at Creek- side Grove on Rte. 374 in Lenoxville. The event will take place from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. and will feature live entertainment, a 50/50 raffle, basket and gift certificate raffles, vendors, commemorative merchandise, a gun raffle, horseshoes, light snacks offered throughout the event, and a beverage tent.
Lucchi Winery will also be offering wine tasting at the event.
Tickets for the chicken dinner cost $10, with a suggested donation of $10 (with a valid ID) for a wristband for the beverage tent. Gun raffle tickets are $10 each or two for $15. Tickets can be purchased at The Paradise Inn, Greenfield Twp.; Bella Pizza, Clif- ford; Iron Hart Taproom,
Carbondale; Pasquale’s Food Mart, Carbondale; Herrick Lodge, Union Dale; the Endless Mountains Pharmacy, Clifford; or the Peanut Bar, Carbondale. Committee members also have tickets available.
All funds raised through the event will be used to help establish and support the NEPA Community Health Care Center currently under construction on Rte. 106 in Greenfield Twp. The center will be named the Andrew C. Mazza Memorial Health Center as a means of honoring the memory of Andrew Mazza, a Green- field Twp. resident who tragically lost his life in an automobile accident in February of last year.
Dawn Ziegler is a member of the board of directors of NEPA Community Health Care, an organization that aims to bring access to affordable primary care to rural communities in Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties.
She is also the founder of the Andrew Mazza Foundation and organizer of the upcoming Chicken BBQ Benefit, a role that grew out her friendship with Andrew and her admiration of his strength of character and his sacrifice.
There would be no foundation dedicated to preserving Andrew’s memory if not for the events of one cold night in February of 2016.
Andrew, age 23, died in a tragic auto accident, a passenger in a vehicle that left a narrow country road in Susquehanna Co. and landed on its roof in a creek. The driver exited the vehicle to seek help, leaving Andrew and a female passenger trapped, upside down, in a car almost completely filled with water.
Andrew and the other passenger were conscious, but unable to extricate themselves from the wrecked vehicle. The girl struggled to access a small pocket of air above her head, but could not stretch herself far enough to reach it. Andrew, in a gesture of immeasurable self-sacrifice, used his feet to lift the girl a few inches, bracing her up high enough to reach the air pocket until help arrived.
Thanks to Andrew’s selfless act, the girl was saved. Andrew was lost, dying due to drowning and hypothermia.
In life, Andrew had a reputation for being generous, fun, outgoing, and happy. He had many, many friends who, along with his family, mourned his passing. Dawn was one of those friends, and as time passed, she felt compelled to do some- thing to honor the man she
knew, the man who proved himself to be, in his darkest hour, a true hero at heart.
Her work on the NEPA Community Health Care Center board, as well as her training as a nurse, made it natural that she would settle on memorializing Andrew by creating the Andrew Mazza Foundation with the aim of establishing a health center to serve the community in which Andrew lived.
“Why do this? Andrew thought a lot of me, so this is the least I can do. What I do pales in comparison to what he did,” she explained. “He had so many friends. He still does. He’s an example of what we all should be willing to do.”
Dawn’s work with the foundation has been very productive. She handles administrative tasks, including filing for non- profit status and raising public awareness about the health center. She spends a lot of time doing paperwork, writing letters, holding meetings, and organizing fundraising events with the help of some of Andrew’s friends and family members.
Last year’s Chicken BBQ Benefit brought in over $30,000 for the health center, and Dawn reports that in just ten months, nearly $60,000 has been raised by the foundation.
The Andrew Mazza Foundation has also established the Andrew Mazza Memorial Scholarship awarded to selected students studying diesel truck technology at Johnson College. Andrew loved diesel trucks, so a truck show will be hosted by the foundation at Johnson College in the spring of 2018 in his memory.
The foundation also supports select local causes as the need arises; for example, chicken dinners from the upcoming event will be donated in Andrew’s name to the St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen in Scranton.
Andrew’s legacy lives on thanks to the good works of the Andrew Mazza Founda- tion. When the Andrew C. Mazza Memorial Health Center opens its doors, it will establish his name as a permanent part of the fabric of the community he called home.
It will also, Dawn hopes, keep Andrew’s memory alive for those who knew him, those who loved him, and those who never had the pleasure of meeting him but who will walk through the doors of the health center and emerge health- ier, happier, and stronger. “It’s important to me that he’s not forgotten.
“The truck show is because he loved it, and the health center is because he earned it. He deserves it, this honor to his sacrifice,” said Dawn.