MADISON, NJ—With bowling shoes and balls at the ready, hundreds of residents, police officers and veterans alike came out Monday to support the 1st annual Rose City Roll bowling fundraiser at STRYXE.
Every inch of floor space was crowded with people laughing, eating and drinking together. The smell of pizza wafted across the lanes as STRYXE staff fired up the ovens to cook its notorious Sicilian recipe.
Madison PBA 92 sponsored the fundraiser help purchase a new wheelchair for Cpl. Todd Love, a Madison resident and Marine Corps veteran whose “unique story” inspired the police department, according to Police Chief Darren Dachisen, Sr.
“The veterans gave so much to us,” Dachisen said while manning the fundraiser’s t-shirt table. “We need to give back to them.”
Love lost both legs and part of his left arm while serving in Afghanistan. Police officers and public officials acknowledged Love on Monday for his service, including Mayor Conley.
“He was often asked the question if he would (serve) again and he said, ‘Absolutely. I would put my life on the line for this country,’” said Conley at Monday’s Mayor and Council meeting.
At least 300 tickets were sold, putting the estimated total of funds raised in the tens of thousands, though the Madison Police Department has not yet released an official number.
Excess funding will be donated in Love’s name to the charity of his choice, Stephen Siller Tunnel 2 Towers Foundation, a nonprofit that supports first responders and military heroes, according to Detective Sgt. Kosakowski. A portion of the overage will also go to Madison PBA 92, he said.
Love doesn’t let his injuries keep him from staying active. He surfs, white water kayaks, skis, skydives and even participates in Spartan Races in his free time.
“I want to inspire others to uplift those around them,” Love said in an Independent Journal Review article. “I might not be able to carry anybody physically but I want to return the favor by simply sharing my story to inspire people.”
Dan Baldan, who runs several open mic nights in the area, provided acoustic music and vocals for the evening at the request of Lt. Joe Longo.
“I don’t personally know Todd but I’m a supporter of the armed forces,” Baldan said. “It was an honor to come and play some songs.”
Funds collected from an upcoming in-service training course for Madison police officers will also be donated to Todd, according to Kosakowski.
Rose City Roll was sponsored by Opici Family Distributing, Breakthru Beverage Group, VDKA6100, RiverHorse and Peerless Beverage Company, which provided beer and wine for the evening. STRYXE also provided unlimited bowling, amusements and food for the event, while several local businesses sponsored lanes.