The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 13, 2013

Persons of the Week: A helping hand: Trio organizes dinner, raffle to aid ailing couple

Frank Sojak
fsojak@tribdem.com

— The Central City area showed its mettle a couple of months ago when residents rushed to the aid of two of its neighbors.

Residents, businesses and community organizations turned out en masse to help Steve and Sharon Seraski through a spaghetti dinner and basket raffle.

Sharon has a flesh-eating disease called necrotizing fasciitis. Steve, who had been battling cancer, passed away Friday.

The event, held Nov. 10 at the Polish National Alliance Club on Main Street in Central City, raised more than $17,000.

The money went toward the Seraskis’ medical bills.

“They are very well loved in this town and that (huge support) showed it,” said Cindy Adomnik, one of three women who spearheaded the event.

She said they were able to raise that much money thanks to the more than 400 people who bought dinners and tickets for baskets and the businesses, organizations and individuals who donated baskets.

Adomnik said also instrumental were Betty Lou Rapsky and Judy Blough, who helped to organize the event; the many volunteers who helped that day; and the people who baked desserts for the dinner.

“The response was out of this world,” Adomnik said.

Adomnik’s sister, Linda Sesack, said to this day, they talk about the amazing amount of support they received for the dinner.

“The outpouring of support and love for them was beyond our expectations,” she said. “The whole community showed its true colors.”

Steve Seraski was the type of person who would do anything to help anyone and Sharon Seraski is a nice person as well, Sesack said. Sharon Seraski is a well-known dog groomer and was well-liked when she had served as a teacher’s aide at the Shade-Central City Elementary School, Sesack said.

Jennifer Goga said she knows firsthand how difficult it is to pay bills with an abbreviated paycheck due to sickness.

“I started thinking, how can they (Seraskis), with their life-threatening illnesses, be able to pay their bills?” she said.

She mentioned to Adomnik that they should do something to help the Seraskis. Adomnik liked the idea.

“It was overwhelming how people in such a small town have such big hearts,” Goga said. “We never dreamed that it would be the success that it was.”

The Seraskis were speechless about the huge support, she said.

“They were so grateful,” she said.

For their efforts, Adomnik and Sesack of Central City and Goga, a Cairnbrook resident, are the Persons of the Week.

Gina Rayman, a friend of the three and the Seraskis, said the event was wonderful.

“To me, the most important ingredient of Cairnbrook-Central City is the strong ties between families and friends,” said Rayman, who attended the dinner.

“Whatever the crises may be, the community comes together to help and support.

“The community should be congratulated for their support toward these three wonderful ladies in their effort to organize an event to benefit Sharon and Steve Seraski.”

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