South Ferry, Claudio’s to host Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund benefit

Claudio's

Claudio’s in Greenport. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

On Monday, the South Ferry will sail from Shelter Island to Claudio’s in Greenport for a fundraiser in honor of a fallen soldier, Joseph J. Theinert who died in Afghanistan in 2010.

It is the sixth year the event will be held.

Tickets are $100 and include the round-trip ferry cruise with an open bar, seasonal bites, followed by a party at Claudio’s with live music and a complimentary “We Remember Joey” T-shirt.

Or, supporters can meet at Claudio’s during the annual East End Restaurant Employees Gala on Monday from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. Claudio’s is asking a $15 donation to benefit the Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund.

Set up by the Shelter Islander’s family, the memorial fund raises money to help veterans and provide scholarships. Lt. Theinert was killed on June 4, 2010 by an improvised explosive device in Kandahar, Afghanistan while protecting his men. The first fundraiser was held just a few weeks later.

The benefit cruise was introduced by Steve Pisacano, the manager at Claudio’s, in 2010. Pisacano had also proposed the East End Employees Gala, a Monday night event in which people in the local restaurant industry could gather to remember the Shelter Island native. The proceeds from the gala are split among veterans intiatives and local school districts, including Mattituck, Greenport, Shelter Island, Riverhead and Southold.

Melissa Mundy, who works with the Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund, said that since its first event, the cruise has turned into a way to celebrate the man who was known on the Island as “Joey,” while also serving as a fundraiser for the foundation.

“We are all so grateful to the South Ferry and [South Ferry President] Cliff Clark for donating the ferry and staff every year and to the Claudio family for letting us dock the boat there,” she said.

All ticket purchases, donations made at the door of Claudio’s and auction bids will go directly toward supporting the foundation’s scholarship program and military support initiatives.

The cruise is usually attended by many of Theinert’s past schoolmates, their parents, friends of the Theinert/Kestler family and foundation supporters.

Mundy said for those who grew up with him, Joe’s memory has anchored them to their hometown.

“Joe was always making sure we were all together, whether it was watching a basketball game, spending fireworks day on the beach, or celebrating the holidays,” she said. “Five years later, he’s not here anymore, but we still all come back to Shelter Island to do these things together.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the Joseph J. Theinert Organization’s website:http://josephjtheinertmemorialfund.org/

Lt. Joseph J. Theinert

Lt. Joseph J. Theinert