Nearly five months after the tragic death of Nassau County Police officer and Wantagh resident Michael Califano, friends of his family banded together for a fundraiser at in Seaford
Officer Califano was struck and killed on Feb. 4 in the line of duty while conducting a vehicle and traffic law stop on the westbound side of the Long Island Expressway at exit 39 in Old Westbury. The tragedy left Califano’s three young boys, Michael, Christopher and Andrew, without a father.
On June 23, friends of the Califano family gathered at United Skates to help raise money for the fallen officer’s three sons with dozens of supporters attending. Margaret Komarek, Ivy Soric and Rosalie Kessler, friends of the Califanos for nearly three decades, joined forces to organize the June 23 fundraiser and previous benefits as well.
"We all worked at Waldbaums 25 years ago and we've remained friends - a very tight group even today," said Komarek. "We love his family and we want to make sure they have everything we can possibly give."
Soric added that they are truly blessed to have had such a great turnout last week and at the dinner-dance fundraiser held earlier this month in honor of Califano's birthday.
"It's been really incredible," she said of the support the family has seen. "The outpouring of love and generosity from so many people is amazing."
Other friends of Califano's, including fellow officers, showed their faces at United Skates to honor and remember their fallen hero.
Franca Cascione of Seaford remembered him as a funny and kindhearted man.
"I've known the family for about 24 years now," Cascione said. "Mike was such a great guy, always joking around. He would've been here for any one of us, so of course we're here for his boys."
Admission to the fundraiser was $5 per person and all proceeds were donated directly to the Califano children. Friends of the family said they certainly plan on hosting more benefits in the future.