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Jimmy's Famous Seafood Raises Over $65K For Families Of Fallen Baltimore First Responders

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- If there's one thing Baltimore knows how to do during tragic times, it's come together.

Jimmy's Famous Seafood held a hugely successful fundraiser Sunday in the honor of four Baltimore first responders who recently died in the line of duty.

The Southeast Baltimore restaurant's goal for the event was $20,000, but they ended up raising $67,000 with donations from across the country, the business said. WJZ was the proud media sponsor of the event.

The money raised at the "Salute To Heroes" fundraiser went to the families of late Baltimore Officer Keona Holley and late Baltimore firefighters Lt. Paul Butrim, Kelsey Sadler and Kenneth Lacayo.

Holley was seated in her patrol car in Curtis Bay in mid-December when someone opened fire into the vehicle, police said. She was hospitalized in critical condition and died after a week on life support.

Butrim, Sadler and Lacayo were responding to a fire in a vacant rowhome in January when part of the building collapsed, trapping them.

DJ Kopec emceed and WJZ's own Rick Ritter hosted the event. WJZ's Denise Koch and Marty Bass, and Ravens mascot Poe were also on hand to show support.

Chris Kopec, A.K.A "DJ Kopec," became wildly popular during the pandemic with his live stream dance parties. He's now the official DJ of the Baltimore Ravens.

Dozens of first responders were in attendance, with Jimmy's Seafood providing them free tickets as a thank you for their service.

One generous contribution came from the Pat McAfee Show, hosted by ex-Colts punter Pat McAfee. The restaurant said it will distribute the total evenly to each family.

John Mindakis, co-owner of Jimmy's Seafood, is known for constantly giving back. He jumpstarted the "Famous Fund" in 2021, raising more than $500K to help local restaurants that were struggling.

The fund is now taking a new approach, helping more than just restaurants in dire times. Minadakis says as soon as this tragedy unfolded, he knew Jimmy's had to do something.

"It was most important to us to make these heroic men and women feel appreciated," Minadakis said. "The respect and adulation they have earned through their selflessness is second to none. It was beautiful to watch the community rally around them during such a difficult time."

Like Minadakis, DJ Kopec said first responders, are near & dear to his heart.

"Way too often our first responders are often taken for granted. Make no mistake, we will never forget these heroes. The DJ Kopec fam will always be behind all of our heroes nationwide" says Kopec.

T.J. Smith, a former Baltimore Police Department spokesperson who lost his own brother to tragedy in the city, knows what support from the community means during a time like this.

"We wanted to just do a small part to show that people are rallying around our first responders to hopefully give them some sort of morale boost & let them know that people support them" Smith said.

The fundraiser was in partnership with Signal 13, a nonprofit that aims to provide financial assistance for Baltimore Police Department employees in need.

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