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LI’s ‘The Pizzeria’ helps raise $8,500 for Blue Point 9/11 hero

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A local fundraising effort between a pizzeria, surf shop and an artist turned into $8,500 to help honor the life of a Long Island 9/11 hero.

Last month, The Pizzeria — with its locations in Smith Haven Mall, Bayport, Islip and soon Bay Shore — participated in an online auction called Skateboards for a Great Cause. They were joined by Bunger Sayville and Marooned Lines artist Chris Tomlin.

The groups promoted limited-edition skateboards and custom painting, all designed by Tomlin.

The goal was to raise money for the Johnny Mac Foundation. Johnny McNamara, a Blue Point native, was a firefighter who helped save lives following the attacks of 9/11. In August 2009, he died of 9/11 related cancer.

The nonprofit was later founded by his wife, Jennifer, with the goal of supporting the 9/11 first responder community along with educational and athletic programs for the youth.

The fundraiser went live Sept. 13.

Within 24 hours, all 100 custom skateboard sold out. Then a silent auction for the painting raised $1,550.

In total, $8,500 was brought in for the Johnny Mac Foundation.

“It is a tremendous amount of money for a small Foundation like Johnny Mac,” said Jennifer. “It will allow us to help a great number of people both in our 9/11 responder as well as our local communities.”

Cliff Weinstein, co-owner of The Pizzeria, was “incredibly humbled by the overwhelming support.”

“We are thrilled to have raised this money for the Johnny Mac Foundation on the 20th anniversary of 9/11,” he said. “Johnny McNamara’s motto was ‘Whatever it Takes’ and our community did exactly that.”

Top: Johnny McNamara at Ground Zero during 9/11 (credit: Facebook).