VHS ’78 Sets Benefit For Classmate


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The Verona High School class of 1978 is rallying to help one of its own. John Wands’ son Zach is recovering from major surgery and the family, which is self-insured, is struggling to pay the insurance premiums. A group of classmates found out and they have organized a benefit at O’Neil’s Restaurant & Pub on Sunday, November 7, from 5 to 11 p.m.

This summer, Zach Wands had an 11-hour surgery for a condition known as portal hypertension. Zach is recovering well, his dad says, but he still can’t play his favorite sport, hockey. Zach has played with the Montclair Blues for five years now.

The idea for the benefit started with Patti Hartke Higgins from the class of 1978. Fellow classmate Beatrice Sparno Garrison became treasurer, Matt Niler donated posters, flyers and tickets, Jimmy Hill of Eight Hills Caterers and O’Neil’s donated the venue and the food. Joey Arminio rallied the music, which includes his own band, “The Family”,  as well as Frank Piombo, the Eddie Testa Band, SMYLE and Soundwave. According to Arminio, help has also come in from Donna Dillon, Mike Donahue, Joanie Brower, Christine Zois, Lori-Ann Babb Ligon, Diana Askling, Doreen Arminio, and many other Verona alumni and residents, who have been either donating time or sending donations. Though not classmates, Tom Malanga and Scott Drukker invited the group to do a spot about the benefit on the Verona Chamber of Commerce’s TV show.

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If you want to attend, tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. You can buy them at O’Neil’s and Lakeside Deli, or send a check made out to Beatrice Garrison/Benefit Fund to 33 Slope Drive, Hackettstown, NJ 07840.  If you have questions, e-mail Garrison at [email protected].

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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