Three Townsquare Media radio stations drummed up about $10,500 in two hours Monday to help the Oneonta Little League rebuild from vandalism this past weekend.
The original goal had been to raise $3,000, based on a request by Oneonta Little League President Bill Erario, a guest on the show, according to radio host Chuck D’Imperio of WDOS. The beyond-goal response was gratifying, D’Imperio said, and reflected the breadth and depth of community support for the long-time youth program.
Erario agreed the community’s response was “absolutely amazing” but said his reaction to the fundraising total was difficult to describe.
“Words still fail to come to me,” Erario said Monday night.
The vandalism, including arson that badly damaged the third-base dugout, threatened to be a setback to the program and goals for springtime field improvements, Erario, said.
But the $10,500 raised, offers of building supplies from local businesses and willingness of residents to volunteer hours of labor to rebuild have turned the situation into one of opportunities, he said.
“It reinforces why we live in such a great community,” Erario said.
Oneonta police continue investigating vandalism in the city’s Sixth Ward that included arson damages Saturday to a dugout at Doc Knapp Field, also known as the Oneonta Little League Field.
Late Monday afternoon, police estimated damages at the dugout at about $10,000. Vandals also spray-painted graffiti on the playing field facilities, on the city’s historic Swart-Wilcox House museum and on Riverside Elementary School.
“People were horrified, people were shocked at the horribleness, the nastiness of it,” said D’Imperio, a radio personality known as “Big Chuck” who also writes a column for The Daily Star.
George Wells, Townsquare Media general manager, organized the three-station radiothon on Sunday, D’Imperio said. WSRK Morning Host Miss Tracie and WZOZ Morning Host Leslie Ann joined D’Imperio for the simulcast.