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Red Cross recognizes Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs for $200,000 donation

By NEWSChannel 2 Staff

TIOGA, N.Y. - The American Red Cross Central New York Region hosted a news conference Friday morning at Tioga Downs Casino in Nichols to recognize and thank the owner, employees and patrons of Tioga Downs Casino and Vernon Downs Casino Hotel for contributing more than $200,000 to the Superstorm Sandy relief fund for New York City and Long Island.

During the news conference at the Winner’s Circle Lounge, American Racing and Entertainment CEO and Owner Jeff Gural presented two ceremonial checks worth a combined $200,746 to American Red Cross Central New York Region CEO Rosie Taravella. The Central New York Region includes 16 counties, including Tioga in the Southern Tier Chapter area and Vernon in the Mohawk Valley Chapter area.

“As we have seen here in Tioga County with last year’s flooding from Irene and Lee, recovery from disaster is a marathon, not a sprint,” Taravella said. “This generous donation from Tioga Downs Casino and Vernon Downs Casino Hotel is helping our New York neighbors affected by Sandy now and will continue to have an impact for months to come.”

A total of $60,440 was raised through employee contributions and a donation drive at the two tracks. Gural contributed $140,306 in matching and personal donations to surpass the goal of $200,000.

“Our areas (in the Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley) know what it’s like to deal with the aftermath of a flood, and that’s evident by the generosity of our patrons in showing their support for the Superstorm Sandy victims,” Gural said.

Gural and Meadowlands Racetrack also donated $250,000 to the American Red Cross to assist with Sandy relief efforts in New Jersey.

Tom Osiecki, President of American Racing and Entertainment and General Manager of Tioga Downs Casino, and Scott Freeman, General Manager of Vernon Downs Casino Hotel, joined Gural in presenting the checks to Taravella and Shelley Bierwiler, Community Chapter Executive of the American Red Cross Southern Tier Chapter.

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