Celebrity softball game to benefit Anaya family

(Original publication: July 15, 2003)

A celebrity softball game Saturday morning in Ramapo will benefit the family of fallen firefighter Calixto "Charlie" Anaya, the Suffern resident who died responding to the World Trade Center terror attack.

The game will feature a number of celebrities playing for WABC/Disney and FDNY Greatest. Hillcrest and Suffern volunteers will participate.

Organizer Trish Abato of Suffern, a friend of Anaya's widow, Marie, explained that the primary focus of the game was not monetary.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," Abato said yesterday. "It nothing else, it'll be a good day for the Anaya children to be out with people and feel a little bit of love for the day."

Kristina-Marie, 10, Brandon, 7, and Rebecca, 3, will attend the event with their mother, who said she was awed and somewhat overwhelmed that people still had her family in their thoughts.

Although she disliked "the limelight," she hoped the day would benefit her son in particular, she said.

Brandon was close to his father, who coached baseball and football. Since his father died, she said, her son has not been able to return to the fields.

Anaya said she wants that to change and believes that the efforts of so many people on Saturday will help show that "life does continue."

"I don't want to be the doom and gloom and wear black for the rest of my life," Anaya said, adding that she didn't want her children to grieve forever. "I want them to be children. I want them to enjoy life. I don't want them to worry about Mom."

"And, I think it's a good thing for my children to see that people haven't forgotten them and people are there for them," she added.

Besides the funds collected at the gate for tickets, Abato said, proceeds will come from raffles of the following: