Joe “Chooch” Chowanec of Dickson City

In Times of Need, Northeast Pennsylvania comes to the aid of its own. In our regular column, Patrice Wilding provides a platform for area residents facing a variety of obstacles to create awareness and connect them with much-needed help.

Who: Whenever friends need a hand or want to share some sarcastic humor, they turn to Joe “Chooch” Chowanec of Dickson City. The avid outdoorsman is always game for hunting, camping and trips to Knoebels amusement park with his family, including his wife, Julieann, and their kids Katie, 27, and Joseph, 25. Chowanec, 54, works as an infrastructure technician and also is a volunteer firefighter for Eagle Hose Company 1 in Dickson City and a part-time firefighter in Carbondale. The passionate New York Mets and Dallas Cowboys fan now looks to the community he serves for support as he fights against large B-cell double-hit lymphoma, which he was diagnosed with in March. Chowanec’s plan of care includes in-hospital chemotherapy treatments for five consecutive days every 21 days.

What: Donations made out to Cheering for Chooch can be sent to or dropped off at any local PNC Bank location. Friends also ave organized a fundraiser called Cheering for Chooch, which will include 50/50 and basket raffles (including high-end prizes) as well as a raffle for a Wheelbarrow of Cheer and additional prizes. Pizza, hoagies, hot dogs and refreshments will be available, and live entertainment will be provided by Three Legged Dog from 1 to 3 p.m., Greater Scranton Black Diamonds Pipe Band and music by a DJ from 4 to 6 p.m. Admission costs $10. Visit the Facebook event page for additional information and updates.

When: Saturday, June 8, 1 to 6 p.m.

Where: Dickson City Fire Department, 1 Eagle Lane

Why: Proceeds will help defray unforeseen medical costs and also support Chowanec and his family with other bills as they miss work during his treatments.

In his own words: “I’ve been overwhelmed with the prayers, texts and phone calls from everyone that has reached out to me. It’s been beyond my imagination, the support I have received.” — Joe “Chooch” Chowanec

The late Rebecca F. Meyers Dates, a Wilkes-Barre native, with her children Tatayana, Julian, Gabriel and the late Zoey.


Bites for Becky, a benefit held Sunday in Duryea in honor of the late Rebecca F. Meyers Dates, who was killed in a car accident in April, was a success, according to organizers. Proceeds support surviving family, including three of Dates young children; her 14-year-old daughter, Zoey, also died as a result of injuries from the wreck. Donations still can be made under the Dates Family Fund at, and sent payable to Dates’ sister, Tanya Accordino, at 141 Lackawanna Ave., Duryea, PA 18642.