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Blue Point’s grassroots fundraiser for family of Gabby Petito surpasses half of its goal

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A local fundraiser started last week for Gabby Petito’s family in Blue Point has raised more than $13,000.

The Johnny Mac Foundation, formed in wake of the Sept. 11-related cancer death of New York City firefighter and Blue Point resident John McNamara in 2009, started the fundraiser as a way to assist Petito’s mother and stepfather, Nichole and James Schmidt.

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Nichole Schmidt is a longtime volunteer and current Johnny Mac Foundation board member. The foundation set a total donation goal of $20,000. So far, 218 donors have contributed $13,120 to the fundraiser.

The Johnny Mac Foundation also donated the teal blue ribbons that are tied to trees across Blue Point and Bayport, after Nichole Schmidt chose the color.

Petito, 22, grew up in Blue Point and graduated with Bayport-Blue Point High School’s Class of 2017. She was killed during a cross country trip she had taken with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, a high school classmate. Her body was found in a national forest park area in Wyoming on Sunday, Sept. 19.

Currently, there is a police manhunt for Laundrie in Florida, where the couple moved two years ago.

The photo above is a still taken from a video supplied to GreaterSayville.com by Lexi Ruiz, who was Petito’s supervisor at Nole Café in Patchogue.