Community and famous KC visitor raise thousands for fallen firefighters’ families

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Thousands of dollars were raised in just hours at the Westport Flea Market Bar and Grill Tuesday night. The money will go to support the families of two fallen firefighters, John Mesh, and Larry Leggio.

They died fighting a fire in October on Independence Avenue where arson is suspected.

The Kansas City Baseball Historical Society hosted the event for its monthly meeting. Loved ones had a blast, but admit the past month has been tough.

"It`s been very hard for his wife and his daughters. I don`t know. Words can`t describe it. It`s a hole in my heart. An emptiness for all of us," said Jim Mesh, John’s older brother.

However both families are grateful for the support from the community.

"I want to give thanks and share to the community and the public and strangers and everyone that has been doing things for me, and just let them know that I do appreciate everything that they`ve been doing," said Missy Leggio, Larry Leggio’s widow.

While Missy makes it through, with the help of her own family, and her husband`s firefighter family she wants to make sure her husband will never be forgotten.

"Everybody`s heard about his contagious smile, his laugh his pranks. I want everyone to keep it alive,” said Leggio.

Folks could bid on sports memorabilia with 100 percent of the proceeds going to both families.

In attendance was Laurence Leavy, also known as The Marlins Man. He previously donated $5,000 to each of the families, and surprised them Tuesday night with news that he`d be donating another $5,000 to each.

"My wish would be that maybe every year we do something and don`t stop so they realize that although they lost a father, they got a family, including me," said Leavy.

Organizers say the fundraiser itself brought in $4,000.