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Hilltowns Archives —The Altamont Enterprise, February 12, 2009

Compassionate teen hosts dinner to help burned-out family

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

HILLTOWNS — When 17-year-old Danille Cross found out her friend’s grandparents had lost everything in a fire, she wanted to do something to help.

A Berne-Knox-Westerlo student who attends the culinary arts program at the Schoharie Vo-Tech, Cross is hosting a baked ziti benefit dinner this Sunday to help the Koons family. Her mother, Kimberly Adami, is helping her.

Cross’s friend, George Koons, is another Vo-tech student. “He’s really happy about it,” she said of the dinner. “He wants to get a ride up here to help.”

Koons lives in Middleburgh with his parents, and now his grandparents. His grandparents had lived in Kentucky. At the end of January, their house burned.

“They lost everything,” said Adami. “One of them suffered second-degree burns and the other a broken arm. They had nothing left. When you’re elderly, it’s hard to start over again.”

Adami’s neighbor, Diane Belott, a firefighter, suggested the dinner could be held at the East Berne firehouse. “She thought it was a fantastic idea,” said Adami.

The mother-daughter team will be preparing baked ziti with sauce and meatballs, tossed salad, Italian bread, and a cupcake. Drinks will be included for those who eat at the firehouse. Take-out orders are also available.

The meal costs $8 for adults and $5 for children aged 5 to 10 years. Children under 5 will eat for free.

Cross wants to go to Schenectady County Community College after she graduates from high school next year to continue her studies in culinary arts. She hopes to one day own a restaurant.

“She’s a good kid,” said her mother. “She really cares about what happens to her friend and his family.”

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