Dozens of families sat outside the new Halfmoon Town Hall on Sunday, lunching on hot dogs and soda as part of the town’s first-ever Halfmoon Community Event.
About 200 local residents turned out under partly sunny skies and mild temperatures to kick off the Halfmoon Baseball League season and raise money for several local causes.
Newly elected Town Board member Craig Hayner organized the event. He estimated that at least several thousand dollars would be collected for three local families with young children who are battling life-threatening illnesses.
“Off and on throughout the last 35 years, they’ve had opening day, ” Hayner said. “I just remember how special it was as a kid to have an opening day ceremony.”
Local businesses donated supplies for the sale of hot dogs, soda and other snacks to raise money for the three local families.
Nine-year-old Samantha Sagnelli, a fourth-grader in the Shenendehowa district, is fighting lymphoma, a type of cancer. Dylan Mayo, also a 9-year-old fourth-grader at Shen, is fighting leukemia. And Gabriella Rocco is a 2-year-old from Halfmoon who was recently diagnosed with neurocutaneous melanosis, a rare neurological disorder.
Hayner’s wife, Carolyn, said that organizers raised $1,737 on Sunday, which will be split evenly among the three families.
A ceremony honoring members of the armed services kicked off the event. One of the speakers at the ceremony was Carol Pingelski Hotaling, the “Yellow Ribbon Lady.” She has been active in the support of local troops deployed oversees.
One visitor to the event, Kyra Bechard, 10, sang the national anthem and “Tomorrow,” from the musical “Annie.”
The event also marked the start of the town’s youth baseball league, although several games have been played already. League commissioner Mike Halpern said there are 370 youths that range in age from 5 to 18 years old and play on 32 teams.
Some of the baseball fields used by the league were removed for the construction of the new Town Hall. The league is using various other area fields this season.
“We’ve had to improvise a bit,” Halpern said. “The town’s been great. They gave us some tarps, so if it does rain we wouldn’t have as many rainouts as we would have without those tarps.”
Officials hope to construct a new town park near Town Hall that would include eight new fields by late next year, according to Town Board member Regina Parker.
“It’s going to be spectacular,” Halpern said. “We’re very, very excited about that.”
A table at Sunday’s event also solicited donations of supplies for the 42nd Infantry Division of the National Guard based in Troy.
“It’s important to give back to the community, it’s important to focus on the troops, it’s important to focus on the community,” Parker said. “We’ve got three children in our community whose families need help.”
Louise Carnesale of East Greenbush was collecting donations for the troops at the table.
“We are so close to this area, with drawing from a lot of residents that are part of our National Guard,” she said. “Halfmoon has always supported us.”
Categories: Schenectady County