Essex Elementary School Foundation Accepts Generous Donation of over $10,000

Event Date: May 4, 2019

Bill Jacaruso, President of the Essex Elementary School Foundation (EESF), recently accepted a generous donation of $11,040 made to the foundation by Joe and Liz Boccia, of Westbrook, CT.  Wanting to give back to the Essex Elementary School’s preschool and special needs program, Joe and Liz Boccia created a unique fundraiser by coordinating the raffle of ‘Puzzle B’, a 2018 14′ Brockway replica.  Their goal was to raise money for preschool and elementary school children with special needs at Essex Elementary School, with the proceeds of the raffle donated to EESF for the distribution of the funds. The raffle ticket proceeds along with donations from individuals and businesses helped to raise the $11,040.  As word got out about this special fundraiser, raffle ticket purchases and donations came in from around the country including, Florida, Illinois, Maine and New York.

‘PUZZLE B’ 2018 Brockway Replica

The 14′ Brockway hull replica was built by students of Daniel Hand High School, located in Madison, CT, under the guidance of their shop teacher, Bryan Amenta.   Joe Boccia personally donated countless hours of finishing, painting and brightwork into the project, including a complete restoration of the 1958 Johnson 10 hsp motor.   A 2018 Venture trailer was donated by Essex Marine, LLC to complete the package.  The making of ‘Puzzle B’ was a community effort; East Coast Trailers, LLC, Pettit Marine Paint, Marine Equipment & Supply, Essex Marine, LLC, Atlantic Outboard, Kellogg Marine Supply, Leon’s Pizza, Bill’s Seafood and Lighthouse Signs, all donated either time, money and/or materials to the cause.

“We were pleasantly surprised by Joe and Liz Boccia’s generous offer to initiate the ‘Puzzle B’ fundraiser and are happy to help distribute the funds back into the Essex Elementary School’s preschool and elementary school special needs programs,” says Bill Jacaruso.  “The Boccia’s passion for this project came from their desire to give back to a program that was so helpful to their grandson who previously attended the school.  It isn’t everyday that someone volunteers to coordinate such a significant fundraiser for the foundation, we were thrilled to support them however we could.”


The drawing for the ‘Puzzle B’ boat was held on May 4th at the CT Spring Boat Show, located at Essex Island, a Safe Harbor Marina.  The last of the raffle tickets were sold that day.  The winning ticket was pulled at 4 pm and the lucky winners, Richard and Joyce LaFlesh, of Suffield, CT were announced.   Richard and Joyce LaFlesh just happened to purchase three tickets upon their arrival at the show.  The two picked up ‘Puzzle B’ from its Westbrook home location on Tuesday, May 21st.


Declan Palazzo, Xhoni Ulku, and Mike Halloran – 2018 graduates of Daniel Hand High School who built ‘Puzzle B’




For information on directed gifts/estate planning
please email

If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation now
Click here:

Or mail to:
Essex Elementary School Foundation
PO Box 882, Essex, CT 06426