Benefit event held to support families of teenage drowning victims

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It was a busy Saturday morning at the restaurant Bistro on Hudson.

The line to register for the “Poker Run” was long, as people received their poker cards and tickets.

The event was held to support the families of 15-year-old Jerry Raimondi Jr. and 17-year-old Devin Nicewiz. The two teenagers drowned in the Susquehanna River in July.

Event organizer Carla Gacha is friends with the Raimondi family.

“They’ve always been there to help each other out. Help other families during sporting events. They’re great people so I wanted to help them get as much out of this as they can,” said Gacha.

There were five stops at today’s poker run and at each stop participants can pick up a card. At last stop those who have the highest cards get a cash prize.

Motorcyclists stopped at TC Riley’s in Dallas, Rich and Charlottes in Harvey’s Lake, The Screwy Moose in Larksville and ended at St. Faustina Grove in Nanticoke.

They enjoyed beverages, food and live music from local bands along the way. The money raised will be split between the two families. It will go toward the teens’ funeral costs and scholarships in the teens’ names in the future. Gacha says there needs to be more awareness of the dangers of the river.

“It’s really not a safe place. I’m hoping that this will make parents more aware to keep better eyes on their kids. You can’t watch them all the time but at least give them better knowledge,” said Gacha.

Gacha estimates more than 200 people came out for the ride.

“I can’t even believe it. Especially at this time when everybody is short on cash. People aren’t working. The amount of donations and outpouring of love is just incredible,” said Gacha.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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