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Ray Ciancaglini, Second Impact Foundation raises thousands for Geneva Police PBA

Following through on his vow to support first responders, Ray Ciancaglini and his Second Impact Foundation co-sponsored the Back the Blue Benefit Dinner on Thursday, December 1st.

More than 300 supporters of the Geneva Police Department turned out for the dinner at Ventosa Vineyards, co-sponsor of the event, which raised $16,000 for the Geneva Police PBA.

Ray Ciancaglini (right) recently presented Police Chief Michael Passalacqua (center) with $16,000 for the Geneva Police PBA. The money was raised at the Back the Blue benefit. Ray Ciancaglini Jr. made the handcrafted wooden plaques that were presented at the benefit.

The gala event came on the heels of the recent benefit dinner presented by Second Impact that raised $10,000 for the Geneva Volunteer Fire Department.

Some in the community have heavily criticized the police department over the last several years and several speakers noted the great turnout of support for the department. Heartfelt and powerful speeches were given by Ciancaglini, Erika Van Savage, wife of a Geneva police officer and daughter of a Rochester police officer, and Police Chief Mike Passalacqua.

“The issue of morale was put to rest with the roar of support heard from Ventosa to City Hall,” Ciancaglini told the police chief when he presented the check for $16,000 last Thursday, Dec. 8. Chief Passalacqua said the money could possibly go for establishing a canine patrol, better uniforms or training uniforms.

Talking about the event at the check presentation, Chief Passalacqua said, “I was in awe. It meant a lot to me because of the struggles we’ve had over the last few years and a lot of our support has been pretty silent. There’s more support out there than you know. We’ve heard that before … we just haven’t really seen it.

“There were a lot of dark days in this building. Some didn’t think we would be able to weather the storm. We definitely swayed and faltered, but we never fell, and we’ve come back stronger and over the last six or eight months in the city I think you’ve seen that tide kind of turn and change. This party solidified that turn around. This is big, and for the men and women who work here, it is bigger than that. It is going to have an impact for a long time.”

Chief Passalacqua, who plans to retire June 30, 2023, said the event definitely improved morale among his police officers.

At the dinner, State Sen. Pam Helming presented a New York State Senate Commendation Award to Ciancaglini. The Commendation Award honors an individual who exemplifies the spirit of community, philanthropy and leadership. Ciancaglini was recognized for his leadership of The Second Impact, a non-profit dedicated to concussion awareness, his advocacy for young athletes, and his support for local law enforcement, firefighters and first responders.

“Ray has a fighting spirit that never quits,” said Helming. “His leadership inspires all of us.”

Ray Ciancaglini Jr. presented the Police Department with two handcrafted wooden plaques … one for the police department and one in memory of Officer Tim Peters, who died this year.

Ciancaglini praised his dinner organizers, including Paul D’Amico, Erika Van Savage, Jessica Passalacqua, Donna Schaertl, Kai Swackhamer and Patti Ciancaglini. Carrie Hessney Dorn, assisted by Tim Dorn, of Hessney’s Auction Company, conducted a lively auction.

Ciancaglini plans to combine the firemen and police benefits next year in one event scheduled for Friday, November 3rd, 2023.