Matt PetronisMatthew Petronis sat in his dorm room on Oct. 29, watching TV in horror as “my childhood burned down.”

Petronis had spent the first 19 years of his life learning how to walk, read, swim and throw a baseball in the idyllic Queens, N.Y., neighborhood of Breezy Point.

He felt helpless that night — but not for long. Only a few hours later, Petronis set up the first fundraiser to help the neighborhood.

In just hours, he’d raised a few thousand dollars, but that was only the beginning.

Within two weeks he topped $140,000, according to WTOP News.


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