Home » Poker and pasta fundraiser planned to help Millerton resident

Poker and pasta fundraiser planned to help Millerton resident

MILLERTON — Nothing speaks so highly of a fellow than when he inspires others to rally around him when times are tough. Such is the case with Mike LaRosa, a Millerton resident who has fallen on difficult times following a surgery that left him with an infection that eventually affected his nerves, leaving him wheelchair bound, unable to feel or move his legs.“Nobody knows what’s going on,” said LaRosa about his medical condition. “It’s a little scary.”“He spent three weeks in the hospital and three weeks in a nursing home ... and [NASCAR] Dave [MacMillan] came to me and said that Mike’s bills were probably piling up. So I decided to do a poker tournament, and Dave said, ‘great,’ and that he would do a spaghetti dinner,” explained LaRosa’s close friend, Jeff Dunlavey Jr. “So we got ready to help raise some money to offset some of Mike’s expenses.”The day of poker and pasta is planned for Saturday, Jan. 14, at the American Legion Hall Post 178; registration for the game starts at 12:30 p.m. and playing will begin between 1 and 1:30 p.m. There is a $50 buy in and there will be buy backs for the first hour.The spaghetti dinner begins at 4 p.m. and will include spaghetti, sausage, meatballs, salad bar, bread and butter, cake and soft drinks. Tickets cost $10.Tickets for both the poker game and the dinner can be purchased at the door. The Legion Hall is located on Route 44 in Millerton, east of the Grand Union.MacMillan, who spearheads the Sunday in the Country Food Drive every Thanksgiving and Christmas, said he couldn’t resist lending a hand to someone like LaRosa, who also has a habit of helping others.“I’ve known Mike for quite a few years and he’s always involved in any Sunday in the Country Food Drive event or anything to do with that,” MacMillan said. “He’s always been supportive. So now he’s ill and doesn’t have a lot of insurance, and he’s still in a wheelchair and rehabilitating and needs assistance, so we wanted to help. “There’s been an outpouring of support — he’s a likeable guy and would give you the shirt off his back if you were down and out,” added MacMillan. “People are really rallying around the cause because it’s him.”Dunlavey agreed, almost to the word.“The thing with Mike is he’ll give you the shirt off his back,” he said. “He’s my neighbor and since I moved next to him we’ve been close friends, for eight or nine years now. Ask anyone in the community and hands down they would say he’s an A-1 class citizen. He’s always the first one there to give, so we said let’s do something for someone who always gave. He’s one of my best friends, and he’s 60 and I’m 35, so that shows you what kind of person he is.”LaRosa himself said he was very touched by the outpouring of support he’s received from his friends and neighbors.“It’s overwhelming stuff they are doing to help me out. I can’t put it to words,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty close-knit group of friends. We hang out and do a lot of stuff together, and it didn’t surprise me at all what they did. It’s the type of people they are.”And poker, LaRosa said, is right up his alley.“I like to play the game,” he said, adding he and his friends often play together. “I’m very much looking forward [to Saturday’s event].”“It feels good to do this for him, because he would do it for everybody else,” said Dunlavey.There will be a lot to do at the event, even if poker’s not your game. A disc jockey will be spinning tunes, there will be sporting events on the big-screen TV and there will be raffles and a 50-50, not to mention the anticipation of the dinner at 4 p.m.The fundraiser is also serving as inspiration for future events; its organizers are hoping to start the tradition of holding similar annual fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for the Sunday in the Country Food Drive, Adopt-a-Family and local food pantries, to name a few.“I’m not a wealthy guy, by any means; I own a painting business,” said Dunlavey. “But it’s good for small communities like this to be involved — that’s the way it should be, because if everybody helps out, life would be a lot easier. It feels good, plus, I’m a big fan of karma.”

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