Community rallies around Justine's


By Jim Poole

Steve and Joanne Salerno, owners of Justine’s, supported the Cobleskill community for years, and now the community is returning the favor.
To that end, an anonymous friend set up an account at Key Bank to accept donations for the Salernos, whose restaurant was damaged by fire Monday morning.
“May our community rally and offer assistance, love and support to the family,” the friend wrote in an email.
“They have done so much for the community. . .may we pay it forward.”
Through their restaurant, the Salernos provided free food for a variety of events, including Marathon for a Better Life meetings, Cobleskill-Richmondville athletic ceremonies and Literacy Volunteers’ annual SCRABBLE tournament, among others.
“Steve and Joanne never hesitate to help with their generosity, and there is no better time for the community to rise and help the family during the crisis they’re facing,” said Bruce Tryon, Marathon board member and C-R school board president.
The Salernos took over catering the SCRABBLE tournament with a breakfast buffet––at no charge––about 10 years ago. Their crew was on the scene at Radez School for five hours every tournament.
A non-profit organization, Literacy Volunteers teaches adults reading and math skills. The tournament is an essential fundraiser, so the free buffet was important.
“Steve and Joanne have gone above and beyond all of our expectations, always refusing compensation,” said Lisa Cardilli, Literacy Volunteers’ executive director.
“The Salernos understand the importance of education and have been a true friend to our organization. We are heartbroken for them.”
To donate, make a check out to Steve or Joanne Salerno and make a deposit at the Key Bank branch in Cobleskill or mail it to Key Bank, 117 Veterans Drive, Cobleskill.