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MAY 2, 2005

COMMUNITY SERVICE

Eldridge Avenue,
Lawrence Township


On Monday, May 2, 2005, several Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers teamed up with ABC TV-star Kelly Ripa to help remodel the back yard of an Eldridge Park resident as part of a Mother's Day home makeover special for the TV show "Live With Regis And Kelly."

Lawrence Road Lt. Edward Kitchen, Paid Driver Robert Santello, Firefighter Joseph Dlabik Jr., Firefighter Ryan Dlabik, and Firefighter Evan Kutzin, manning Telesquirt 22, spent the morning volunteering their time to help Ripa, the crew of "Live" and a dozen or so employees from the Lowe's Home Improvement store in West Windsor transform the backyard of Eldridge Park resident Maryann Raccosta.

Lawrence Road firefighters were asked to participate in the makeover effort by Ripa and her TV program.

Raccosta was one of five winners selected for the special Mother's Day makeover from more than 11,000 contestants. She was nominated, without her knowledge, by a family member who praised her as a dedicated mother to her children, two of whom suffer from a very rare tissue disorder.

While Raccosta was at work, Ripa and the crew of volunteers secretly went to her home and transformed her backyard, laying fresh sod, erecting a new fence and installing new playground equipment for Raccosta's children.

Ripa then surprised Raccosta at work and escorted her in a limosine back to her home to view the improvements, along with a large crowd of neighborhood spectators. Needless to say, Raccosta was quite surprised and very happy.

In between working on the yard, Ripa took time out to pose for a photo with Lawrence Road firefighters.

Video footage of the makeover and Raccosta's arrival home was aired on "Live" on Friday, May 6, 2005, as Ripa and co-host Regis Philpin dedicated their entire show to honoring mothers across America and celebrating Mother's Day.

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