Community Supports Fallen Firefighter's Family

By Stephanie Machado
By Adam Chick

February 10, 2013 Updated Feb 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM EST

Owego, New York (WBNG Binghamton)Members of the Owego community gave back to Capt. Matt Porcari Sunday by raising money for his family.

The family's home was damaged in the flood of 2011, but Porcari focused on helping repair other homes and never got the chance to fix his own.

The benefit was held at the Parkview Restaurant, where the organizers charged $11 for a delicious meal of donated comfort food.

"Two hundred pounds of macaroni and cheese," Joseph Barreca, one of the Parkview chefs, said.

He and the other chefs volunteered to work without pay on their day off in order to support the cause.

"It's a tragedy that it happened," Barecca said. "But it feels good to come in here and help people out."

Porcari died while fighting a house fire on Jan. 21 when the floor collapsed.

His friend Dan Gavin was also injured in that fire, and attended the benefit today. He said Matt inspired him to become a firefighter and was extremely proud of his community.

"Seeing the community come together like this would make him very proud as an individual and very proud to be a part of the Owego community," Gavin said.

The owners of the restaurant, Beth and Mark Johnson, donated the space for the meal, silent auction and raffle that was expected to raise up to $5,000 or more for the Porcari family.

"I think it's going to help everybody heal a little bit," said Mark Johnson. "To come together and help Matt and his family."

The food, auction items and even the DJ were all donated by members of the community.