By Jeff Smith

PAINTED POST - What started last year with two friends bowling against each other at Crystal Lanes to raise donations turned into a popular bowling fundraiser Feb. 1, providing funds to a local chapter of Disabled American Veterans.

Thomas Pierri, owner of Pierri's Central Restaurant, said the event started a year ago when he and Ron Yorio “held a little grudge bowling match.”

“Last year we raised $1,048, and those funds were donated to a Bath Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans,” Pierri said. “Before this year's event, we were sitting around wondering how we wanted to improve the bowling fundraiser. We just wanted to get more people involved.”

Pierri said to get more people to take part in the bowling fundraiser, information about the event was put online, in the media and on small posters that were placed at different locations throughout the area and at Crystal Lanes.

“We had 30 teams show up at the event,” Pierri said. “The fundraiser raised $8,258, and that money was again donated to a Bath Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans. Next year we hope for 60 teams to take part in the fundraiser.”

Tony Ritter, a member of the Bath Chapter of Disabled American Veterans, who took part in the Feb. 1, bowling event, said the DAV chapter appreciates the funds raised by everyone.

“I recently went to the Steuben County Office of the Aging and found out there are veterans that go there that need ramps at their residence built or fixed and other things,” Ritter said. “We have been in contact with them. This funding is going to help fund (projects) like that.”

Ritter said the Bath Chapter of Disabled American Veterans has also donated funds to the Bath VA Medical Center for veterans services and the canteen service.

“This funding is going to go to good things,” Ritter said. “We are also going to try to sponsor the veteran patriots softball team, and every one of the guys that plays for that team is a disabled veteran.”

Pierri said he and Yorio decided to make the donation to the Disabled American Veterans because both of them are Vietnam Veterans.

The Disabled American Veterans is a nonprofit organization created by the United State Congress for disabled military veterans of the United States Armed Forces that helps them and their families through various means. It currently has nearly 1.3 million members.