RAHWAY — The Annual Lehrer-Gibilisco Benefit Softball Tournament hits its 15th year home run for the Children’s Specialized Hospital “Lightning Wheels’ Athletic Team. The tournament was held at Rahway River Park, Rahway.
What began as one Rahway Recreation men’s softball team playing a team consisting of hospital staff members 15 years ago, has evolved into a day long, ten team competition including trophies, food and festivities, all to raise money to benefit the athletic team for handicapped children supported by the Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside.
The athletic team is comprised of children between the ages of 5 to 21 who compete at local, regional and national events. The junior wheelchair athletic program has been in existence since 1981. For many of the athletes this is the first and possiblly only opportunity they have to be a part of a team and to participate in sports, said Trisha Yurochko, coach of the Children’s Specialized “Lightning Wheels.’ The team also builds self-esteem, self-confidence and life-skills.
Children’s Specialized Hospital, with locations in Mountainside, New Brunswick, Fanwood, Toms River, Hamilton and Bayonne, is the largest pediatric rehabilitation hospital in the United States. The affiliate in Mountainside offers a wide range of medical, developmental, educational and rehabilitative services for infants, children, adolescents and young adults.
Joseph Gibilisco, manager of The Lehrer-Gibilisco Funeral Home in Rahway, said, “This year’s corporate sponsors made the day even more successful raising more money than last year. All volunteers that get involved get as much pleasure as the kids do”.
Organizers thanked this year’s corporate sponsors: Anderol, Specialty Lubricants, Berlinski Contractors, Butch Kowal, C & C Cabinets, Carmen F. Spezzi Funeral Home, Christopher Armstrong, Attorney at Law, Dominic’s RC Restaurant, Dr’s Choice, Gem Eye Care, Indigo Hotel at Sky View, Iozzi-Williams Realty, J J R Construction, John F. Kwasnik, Esq. Attorney at Law, Kowalski Funeral Home, Luciano’s Italian Restaurant, Northfield Bank, Plinton-Curry Funeral Home, Quality Auto Body, Rahway Auto Body, Rahway Glass Shoppe, Station Cab, Stewarts Root Beer, T. Wilson Home Improvements, LLC, Culligan Water Company, PJ Monogramming, Visual Effects and Big Belly Deli .
Jim Zwiebel , co-event organizer, explained that the tournament has grown tremendously. “I enjoy the opportunity to help and support the kids on this special day.”
Event organizers Darren Lasinski, Gibilisco and Zwiebel also thanks all the volunteers for their help this year.
Caitlin Goerlich, one of the athletes of the Children’s Specialized Hospital “Lightning Wheels” team, throws out the ceremonial first pitch to Jim Zwiebel, signaling the start of games at the 15th annual Lehrer-Gibilisco Funeral Home Benefit Softball Tournament.
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