Owego Fire Department's Captain Matthew Porcari was honored posthumously by the Tioga County Legislature on Feb. 12, 2013 with a proclamation that recognized his years of service and selfless dedication to the safety of the community. Porcari lost his life in the line of duty while responding to a mutual aid call to Newark Valley for a house fire on Jan. 21.

Legislator Marte Sauerbrey presented the tribute, and read it into the record. "The Tioga County Legislature, as well as on behalf of the citizens of Tioga County, express sincere gratitude and recognize Matthew J. Porcari for his years of dedicated service," Sauerbrey said. Sauerbrey is the Chairwoman of the Legislature's Public Safety Committee.

Porcari's lifelong friend and commanding officer in the department, Chief Ed Franz, was asked to speak on behalf of Christina Porcari, Matthew's wife. "In my fifty-five years in the department and my second turn as Chief, this is one of the hardest," Franz paused to collect himself after being overcome by the still fresh pain of Porcari's tragic death. He then continued, "We've had to deal with. Thank you on behalf of all firefighters."

Tioga County Bureau of Fire Coordinator John Scott spoke with Christina Porcari before she was escorted out of the Hubbard Auditorium and embraced by Chief Franz. The respectful silence of the crowd was broken by Tioga County Legislature Chairman Dale Weston, who summed up the emotions of the room when he said, "This is a very sad moment."

Benefits continue to be held in the area for Porcari's surviving family, wife Christina, and his two children Tierney and John.

One of those fundraisers, held last Sunday at the Parkview Hotel and Restaurant, raised $4,496 that will benefit the rebuild of the home Matthew Porcari shared with his family. According to Parkview owner Beth Johnson, over 200 guests arrived and were able to purchase a dinner and bid on various raffle items.

"Our employees donated their time, and fire department members came in and volunteered as well," said Johnson. By doing so, according to Johnson, 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the rebuild fund, except for donations that were specified to benefit the children's fund.

Johnson also noted the following individuals and businesses who donated goods or services: Tioga Gardens, All Occasion Music, John's Fine Foods, Tioga Tool and Rental, Mr. Koffee, Scott Smith & Son, Pumpelly House, the Owego Treadway, Carvonic Soda, Carol Dietrich, Turkey Trot Acres, Cindy Goodrich, Fastenal, Price Chopper, The Goat Boy, Houghton friends and family, Power and Paddle, the Barleycorn, Marte and Lew Sauerbrey, Quilter's Haven, Tender Loving Care by Maureen, all of the firemen who donated their time, and the community members who supported the event.

On Wednesday, an event to benefit the rebuild fund was also held at the Top of the Hill in Apalachin, N.Y. According to owner Keith Thomas, $2,309 was raised and will go directly into the building fund led by Justin Huslander.

Thomas attributes the success of the benefit to the staff, who volunteered their time, and the volunteers. Staff members who assisted include Joel Mathis, Kevin Bly, Michele Pace, Stacy Hisham, Heather Long and Jessica Ray.

Matthew Porcari's daughter Tierney, and his widow Christina also attended Wednesday's event.

For those who were not able to attend these events, and wish to help, they can donate to a fund set up at Home Central in Owego, N.Y. Funds are being used to purchase materials to finish renovations needed to Porcari's home, which was heavily damaged during the 2011 flood. Home Central is accepting cash, check or credit donations at the store or you can donate by phone at (607) 687-3284.

Donations in memory of Captain Matthew Porcari can also be made to the Porcari Children Memorial Fund, c/o First Niagara Bank, 18 Lake St., Owego, N.Y. 13827.