It all started with a mutual love of ice fishing. David and Joe DiNigro are members and organizers with the group "NYS Hardwater Diehards." This was the first year they decided to combine their love of the frozen water and support for veterans.

WIBX was first approached about the desire of this group to donate by Will Michaels and Tom Heiland of Utica Mack. Michaels and Heiland have been partners with WIBX on a number of charitable projects including the annual Toy Drive and the big Flint Water Drive in February 2016. Michaels told Andrew Derminio of WIBX, "I have a guy down here that raised a whole bunch of money and food for veterans and does not know the direction to go to donate." That's when we thought of Vincent Scalise.

We had a lot of people who wanted to come and fish and a lot of people who just wanted to donate.

The big reveal of the surprise donation occurred live on the air on "First News with Keeler in the Morning" on WIBX Wednesday morning. Vincent Scalise is the head of the CNY Veterans Outreach Center in Downtown Utica and he joined us on the phone. What he heard next, he never expected. Joe DiNigro tells Keeler, "We had an ice fishing derby because we wanted to sponsor veterans. We couldn't think of a better place for the money to go." This was their second year hosting the event with their group "NYS Hardwater Diehards." Joe's cousin, David DiNigro, explained how they raised the money. "Everyone had an entry fee of $20 and we had a lot of people who wanted to come and fish and a lot of people who just wanted to donate."

Joe DiNigro says he was surprised at the positive turn out for the first year fundraising. That can no doubt be attributed to this groups over 4,100 members on Facebook. It also speaks to the passion these members have for ice fishing and America's heroes. Scalise couldn't be more pleased and thankful for the donation. When it was all said and done the 'NYS Hardwater Diehards' brought in over $4,000 cash and canned food items. When Scalise heard that number he said ecstatically, "That's Amazing!" Scalise also said, "When we get donations like this it goes right to Vets in need. We never use any of the money for administration fees." Scalise also said that the funds donated would go into their general fund to help veterans in need with financial burdens.

WIBX was honored to be able to connect this incredible group of diehards and a truly incredible local charitable organization. Next year, the DiNigro cousins hope the event will be bigger and better than ever so they can give even more next year. If you love to ice fish and want to learn more about the 'NYS Hardwater Diehards' you can visit their Facebook page. Thanks and Congrats to all those involved in this incredible act of kindness and support.

You can see the full interview and donation reveal in the interview below from 'First News with Keeler in the Morning.'

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