When Andrew Mazza, 23, was killed by a drunk driver in 2016, friends and family wanted a way to remember him. So they launched a foundation that has grown to help the community in countless ways. Below, Mazza’s friend and foundation president Dawn Ziegler talks about their mission and plans for the July 10 Diesel Jam at Circle Drive-in in Dickson City.
Q: What is the Andrew Mazza Foundation?
A: AMF is a small, local nonprofit 501c3 organization based in Greenfield Twp. We have this slogan we use on our banners and website, “For the Community by the Community.” I think that really sums it up well. Our foundation was started in 2016, after Andrew’s sudden and tragic passing, with a chicken barbecue dinner held at Creekside Grove in Lenoxville. At the time we were raising money to establish the Andrew Mazza Memorial Health Center located in Greenfield Twp., and it just seemed to take off from there. We spent the next two years raising funds and in May of 2018, NEPA Community Health Care opened its facility named for Andrew. Since then, we have continued fundraising and have turned our attention to different projects, still within the surrounding communities that Andrew called home. I can spend all five questions talking about Andrew’s big heart, great smile or his kind soul. But I think his choice to stay in a submerged car, in the dark of night, in middle of February, to help keep another passenger above water till helped arrived, says it all. What we do for him through this foundation is no comparison to what he did. What we do is easy.
Q: What are some of the things you do in the community?
A: Some of the things we do in the area include our barbecue, which we have now combined with a Memorial Golf Tournament, this year to be held at Homestead Golf Course, in Greenfield Twp. We also do Diesel Jam Truck Show, this year to be held at The Circle Drive-In, in Dickson City. And probably my favorite event, Truck or Treat, we hold that in Clifford the Saturday before Halloween. We provide an afternoon of all things Halloween and combine them with trucks! It is a completely free event to the community, and we usually have a tremendous turnout. AMF also provides multiple scholarships to local high schools in the area which are open to all students. All we ask is that they write a short essay on character… “What does character mean to you? How would you define character? (and what is) the importance of character in our lives and in our community.” We also participate in local events and Christmas toy drives. We especially try our best to support other smaller nonprofits in the area and help any families suffering a tragic loss, such as Andrew’s.
Q: How did COVID-19 affect the foundation?
A: COVID-19 shut down all our events for the 2020 year and, believe it or not, it even shut down our scholarships. We reached out to four local high schools, which were all remote at the time, and only heard back from two of them. Then the two who did send out our scholarships produced not one applicant! We could not believe that COVID even stopped that. We had no meetings but kept in contact through phone. The one thing we did manage to do is a free mask giveaway. We purchased 1,000 masks and held it in, I think, early May, across from the Greenfield Twp. Building. It was a drive through event and whatever we had left, we distributed to some of the local businesses.
Q: How did you decide to bring the Diesel Jam back in 2021?
A: Bringing Diesel Jam back for 2021 was not a hard decision for us and was based largely on two things. The first being the increasing availability of the vaccine and the second being our new venue, The Circle Drive-In. It’s obviously an outdoor event but there, we have an enormous amount of room to spread out. We have a great line up of sponsors this year, to include Garofalo Enterprises, Hunter Trucks, RLE, Sherwood Trucks, M&K Truck Centers, Service Tire Truck Center, MJ Spott Crane Rental and Cummins to name just a few. It will be a great comeback for the show, and it supports both The Johnson College Diesel Truck Technology Program and The Andrew Mazza Foundation. It is a free event to the public and with lots to see! We are always looking for sponsors and industry or even some non-industry vendors. Unfortunately, at this time, all our food vendors have been filled. For more information about either, or to register a truck you can visit us at www.andrewmazzafoundation.com or email us email@example.com. The event takes place July 10 at Circle Drive-In.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: As we were all reminded this past year, the future is unpredictable, and every day is a blessing. In terms of the future of AMF, we will continue to do this as long as the demand for it exists. I’m not sure any of us thought we would be where we are today, but I know I speak for us all when I say we could not be happier about it. I have to say, I am only a very small part of this. I would like to acknowledge the fact that this would not and could not happen without our committee and volunteers, Andrew’s father and his amazing friends who have been there for every event, all the local businesses who go above and beyond to help us, the staff at Johnson College, or the selfless generosity of our communities. For that, I could never express my gratitude. I think Andrew would be extremely impressed and humbled by all we do for him and I think Diesel Jam would be his absolute favorite, hands down! At the end of the day, I can only hope he is as proud of us as we are of him.