Only two weeks after a fire wrecked the Laurel home of Mattituck firefighter Michael Sweeney and his wife, the community has already rallied to support the family.
A benefit classic car and motorcycle show is scheduled for this Sunday, Aug. 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with proceeds going to Mr. and Mrs. Sweeney. The fundraiser was organized by a group of Mr. Sweeney’s oldest friends, and locals have been more than willing to jump on board.
“It’s yet to be determined how much they’ll have to replace, but it looks likely that they’ll have to end up rebuilding the house completely,” explained Kevin Lynch, a Cutchogue firefighter and close friend of Mr. Sweeney.
“We go way back, about 40 years,” said Mr. Lynch of their relationship. “We’ve been friends almost forever. I’m just trying to help out a friend.”
Mr. Lynch said that after word got out about the fire, lots of people came up to him and other friends, asking how they could help.
It was then decided to schedule a fundraising event.
“We’re all really into cars and hotrods and we travel to a lot of car shows all together,” Mr. Lynch explained. “So we decided it was the perfect them for the fundraiser.”
Old cars are a love of Mr. Sweeney’s as well — he owns Southampton Auto and Marine Upholstery. But the group of friends made sure to get his permission before they went ahead with the benefit, though it wasn’t so easy to convince Mr. Sweeney to come on board.
“He’s a great man, and he’s very humble too,” Mr. Lynch said. “At first he didn’t want us to do this, but we ended up bullying him into.”
The organizers have been handing out fliers and encouraging mostly classic antique cars to come, and invited motorcycle clubs to visit as well. They’re also hoping that the Mattituck and Southold fire departments will bring over antique fire trucks for display.
“All of the local businesses have been donating,” said Denise Thilberg, owner of Making Waves Hair Studio in Cutchogue and one of the organizer friends. “We’ve also had local people just coming up and donating money. Everything we’ve gotten so far has been donation.”
The benefit will take place at the American Legion in Southold, and will take place rain or shine.