The East Meadow Fire Department Headquarters was packed on Feb. 9 as guests spent the day enjoying music, taking part in raffles and comforting one another as they rallied behind the family of Michael Smith.
Stacked on tables and lining the walls were dozens of different prizes and gift baskets donated by corporate sponsors, community groups and local residents. Michael Smith finished his term as captain last April, when his health began to decline. For seven months he grew more ill, until he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in November. “He had no idea he was sick,” Ciaccio said. “That’s what scared us all.”
Smith died on Dec. 28, at age 55.
After his diagnosis, EMFD members planned a fundraiser on Feb. 9 to help offset his medical expenses. After hearing of his death, they decided that the event would go on as scheduled, to celebrate his life and offer financial support to his wife, Victoria, and their two daughters.