Greater Pittston community supports family that lost home in fire

By Matt Mattei

For Sunday Dispatch

Charlie Kapish, left, and Janelle Filipkowski, both of Pittston Township, look over basket raffle items at the Kaminski/Wruble fire benefit at Dupont Park on July 12.

Gianna Guiliano, right, and her mom Janelle bring in pizzas from Tony’s Pizza.

Julia Girman, 10, left, and her friend Kayla Kovaleski, 10, both of Pittston, get lemonade.

Zach Valeski, 11, of Hughestown, tries his hand at ping-pong throw at the Kaminski/Wruble fire benefit.

Members of the Kaminski/Wruble family of Dupon are, from left, Michael Kaminski, daughter Michaela, Karen Wruble, daughter Makenzie, and daughter Kassity. Absent at the time of the photo was son, Jason.

Beneficiary Karen Wruble, right, of Dupont, chats with event organizers Kate Musto, Pittston Area Key Club; Kim Fisk of Dupont, sister; and Cyndi Valeski, of Hughestown, cousin.

DUPONT — Although it took on the appearance of a family fun day, the Dupont tee ball/softball field was, in truth, transformed into a symbol of kindness, empathy and community on July 12 as about 300 people showed up to support the Wruble/Kaminski family which lost its Suscon home in a fire on June 7.

The event featured a wealth of food, raffle baskets and gift cards donated by local people and businesses with Phillies tickets and a lottery ticket tree worth $100 among the grander prizes. A lemonade stand, photo booth, face painting tent and bake sale were among the other attractions and fundraisers on site, all staffed by friends, family and volunteers from the community.

Karen Wruble who, along with her husband, Michael Kaminski, and four children, will soon settle into a temporary home, said the money raised will help them furnish their new living space and allow for some savings toward the time when they can rebuild.

Cyndi Valeski, Wruble’s cousin, and Kim Fisk, Wruble’s sister, were among major organizers of the event, which they called “Fighting Fire” and were moved by the turnout and the sentiment brought forth by the community.

Valeski spread awareness of the event by advertising on social media, distributing flyers and calling on other volunteers to take on responsibilities, while Fisk arranged to have the park donated and worked the ticket booth during the event.

Wruble thanked her family for organizing the event. “I’m so grateful to my sister and my cousin Cyndi,” she said. “They both did everything for me.”

A disc jockey provided music as people arrived to donate and enjoy the sunshine and the atmosphere. Folks gathered around the raffle tent to buy chances and sat beneath the pavilion to indulge in a variety of foods, which included pasta and breadsticks, pizza, hotdogs and haluski.

Children in attendance made good use of the playground outside the field’s perimeter and took part in games and activities set up by Kate Musto and the Pittston Area Key Club.

Valeski said the day was a testament to everyone who helped organize the event and everyone who participated. “It’s just amazing how people just come together,” she said.

Fisk, moved near to tears by the support shown to her family, said, “When you see that there is so much given in one small area, it kind of touches your heart. To think – we may not feel it’s available, but people are fantastic in our community. It’s just overwhelming.”

“Overwhelming” was the word also used by Wruble when she referred to both the outpouring of calls and texts her family received from the community and the turnout for the benefit.

“I think it’s awesome how many people showed up and came out to show their support,” she said.

Wruble’s 9-year-old daughter, Makenzie, said the showing of people who came to help her family made her feel “loved” and her 5-year-old sister, Michaela, made a sign to show her appreciation.

The sign, hung next to the food stand, showed a picture that Michaela drew of her family, pets and all, and included a note she addressed to all those in attendance.

It read:

“When my house was on fire, I was scared and sad,” Michaela wrote. “My dog Charlie woke us up to get out.

Thank you for helping us.



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