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Good News: Fund Set Up Honoring Firefighter; Library Takes Top Honors

Some stories put a smile on your face. Here's our wrap-up from around Northern Suffolk and the East End.

As a local news organization, Patch covers stories of all kinds, from heartbreaking tragedies to nitty-gritty breakdowns of government and school district issues. But some stories are simply inspiring, often showing that at the heart of our communities is a desire to do good. Here are some of the touching headlines from the past seven days.

Memorial Fund Created for Firefighter

The family of the late Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo – "Joey D," the former Setauket Fire Department volunteer, FDNY firefighter and Miller Place resident who survived the tragic Black Sunday fire in 2005 only to die of an accidental medication overdose in November 2011 – has launched a nonprofit in his honor.

The Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation will be raising money to provide personal safety ropes and life-saving training to fire departments who cannot afford to pay for them, according to Joe DiBernardo, Joey's father.

"This is all in Joey’s memory because those were his passions," Joe DiBernardo said.

He said the foundation plans to raise money by holding a large training seminar, which will feature well-known fire service instructors from all over the U.S., as a fundraiser.

Port Jefferson Library Scores Highest Rating

Port Jefferson Library was one of 14 others in Suffolk County to be honored with an American Star designation from the Library Journal, the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field, according to a blog post on Patch by the Suffolk Cooperative Library System.

"It is gratifying to be able to say to the community that in return for that support we deliver one of the best libraries in the country," said Library Director Robert Goykin.

Goykin added that Port Jefferson is one of an elite group of public libraries to have received the Star rating in each of the five years since the inception of the designation.

From Commack to Haiti

Inspired by their neighbor’s commitment to helping the people of the Haitian village where she grew up, a Commack father and son duo are now working to fundraise enough money to build a well so that the people of her homeland have clean water.

Local Publishes Children's Book

Danielle Cohen, a 2010 graduate of Ward Melville High School in Setauket, wrote down nearly everything her grandfather, Jerry Lesonksy, said to her as he began to suffer from Alzheimer's Disease. The experience inspired What's Wrong With Grandpa?, a book Cohen released Aug. 28 via on Amazon.com. A portion of the proceeds goes to support research on Alzheimer's Disease.

"It really changed my life," she said of her grandfather's illness. "I wanted to do something to help other kids who are going through what I went through, to know they’re not alone."

Gymnastic Standout a Two-Time Champ

Katie Finnegan, a Kings Park fourth grade student at RJO recently won the New York State All Around Championship.

Surfers Fly Dogs To Wainscott

Surfers traveling back from Puerto Rico have once again stepped up to help some pups in need. East Hampton residents John Robertson and Brian Powell made room in their carry-ons on their way back from vacationing in Rincón to transport orphaned dogs to the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons in Wainscott on this week.

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