Rescue Mission CEO gets dunked for cause

A central figure from the local Rescue Mission got dunked more than once in a water tank this weekend set up for an event held at the East Syracuse Thrifty Shopper. RM Executive Director Chasz Parker made a splash thanks to a ball thrown by his son Cullen, 11, and from employee Gina Rapasadi who works as part of the Rescue Mission Development team. Rapasadi's throws, however, didn't plunge Parker in the water. Rather, she hot-footed it to the release button and pushed it firm, sure to drop her boss back in the tank at least one more time. The crowd roared with laughter. East Syracuse Mayor Dan Liedka was ready to make waves but had no takers.

"I didn't have any takers," Liedka said. "The little kids were loving being in there, so I didn't get in their way. I was ready willing and able though!"

Saturday's event was part of the weekend tent sale where shoppers could find fun and savings all in one place. The Rescue Mission's food service department sold hot dogs, Italian sausage and hamburgers for a buck; drinks such as water, green tea and Starbucks' Frappuccino's were sold for 50 cents.

"It draws people out to have fun," said RM Community Relations Coordinator Paul LaDolce about the special event.

Store sales, which include 13 thrift shops in all, help the Rescue Mission provide services to local homeless, hungry and hurting people.

"Every day, we serve breakfast, lunch and dinner -- on average, more than 550 meals a day," LaDolce said. "Every night, we house over 200 men -- half of them in our state-licensed emergency shelter and the remainder in our two residences," of which are all located in Syracuse.

Since costs in food, gas and other living expenses are on the rise, the Rescue Mission has also seen an increase in services rendered.

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