'Overwhelming support': Community rallies around critically-ill West York firefighter

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Captain Chuck Zienkiewicz was diagnosed with Necrotizing Pancreatitis — an inflammatory disease that caused severe complications to his health. Credit: Jennifer Zienkiewicz

Tickets are going fast for a fundraiser to support a West York Fire Department firefighter who "was on death's door" just a month ago, his family said.

Capt. Chuck Zienkiewicz was diagnosed with necrotizing pancreatitis — an inflammatory disease that caused severe complications to his health.

His fire company responded with a fundraiser to help with his medical bills, according to his sister, Jennifer.

West York Fire Capt. Chuck Zienkiewicz

"We just wanted to have everyone rally around him so he could feel everyone's love and prayers. That was most important to us," Jennifer Zienkiewicz said. "He was on death's door quite a few times, but he's a strong guy and he beat the odds."

A fundraiser with food, music and raffle games is slated for 6 p.m. Saturday, July 10, at West York Fire Department, 1341 W. Market St. 

Tickets are $15 per person, and children under 5 will receive free admission. There are about 60 tickets left out of a total of 200, and they can be purchased by calling 717-758-6351, according to Nancy Love, the financial secretary of the fire department. 

"He's been at the fire company for many years, both volunteer and paid, so I just thought it was a good thing to do to support him and his family," Love said. 

Chuck Zienkiewicz started with West York Fire Department as a volunteer at 16-years-old in 1998, before he got hired full time in 2005 as a captain, according to Jennifer Zienkiewicz.

In addition to the July fundraiser, a GoFundMe has been set up with a goal of $10,000. As Monday, $9,528 has been raised.

Interested donors can visit https://gofund.me/cefb3072.

"I don't know if words can describe this overwhelming support, and just to recognize how many lives my brother has touched — and now it's being returned to him," Jennifer Zienkiewicz added.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.