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Fundraiser at Prime Steakhouse raises more than $20,000 for Pilato family | Community Spirit

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Fundraiser at Prime Steakhouse raises more than $20,000 for Pilato family
Fundraiser at Prime Steakhouse raises more than $20,000 for Pilato family

Turning tragedy into hope. Hundreds of people open up their wallets to help a mother and her daughter after a fire killed three of their family members on Cardile Drive in Webster.

Elaine and Elizabeth Pilato, lost not only three of their family members but also their home and everything they owned.

Tonight, the community came out to help them rebuild raising more than $20,000 at a fundraiser in Webster.

Normally Prime Steakhouse on East Main Street in Webster is closed on Monday nights but tonight, not only was it open but for it was bursting at the seams with good will and good cheer all for a good cause.

“It's Christmas, it's the worst tragedy. It's awful.” Neil Bauman was moved when he heard about the fire that claimed the lives of members of the Pilato family but then it became personal. “My granddaughter was very close friends of Josh. She called the night of the tragedy very upset and said I wish we could do something.”

Within days, Bauman had reached out to his friends and asked for help.

People like musician Tom Hernandez responded. The SUNY Brockport professor had one of the Pilato's older daughters in his class. ”In a situation like this, there's very little that anybody can do but I think what this community has chosen to do really speaks to what everybody really wants to do which is reach out  and help as best they can.”

It took nine days to bring the fundraiser together. Businesses donated services, money and items for the silent auction. It's estimated more than 300 people came through these doors -- people who are acquainted with the Pilatos, community leaders and celebrities like radio personality Brother Wease who tried his hand at tending bar. “It's personal to me. It's important to try to help.”

All of the silent auction items sold, raffle tickets gone and the fundraising goal was surpassed -- all because of an 11 year old's idea.  

Bauman's granddaughter, Julia Abrey said, “Josh was really like close to me and my friends. I just thought it would help the family. It was really like a nice thing to do.”

Some of the auction items for sale -- a helicopter trip for two, golf clubs, an AT&T tablet and new flooring.

This and donations helped raised about $26,000 all of it going directly to the Pilatos.

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