Getting By With Help From Friends

By Arielle Dollinger


Janet Eckel and Tim Hess welcome patrons to Tim’s Shipwreck Diner on Saturday for a fundraiser to help Northport’s John Carberry.

Janet Eckel and Tim Hess welcome patrons to Tim’s Shipwreck Diner on Saturday for a fundraiser to help Northport’s John Carberry.

In the weeks following a Northport fire that left a man without his mother and without a house, a community has rallied to raise money to help him rebuild – an effort that began with an online fundraising campaign and will progress on Dec. 20 to a fundraising event.

Tim’s Shipwreck Diner is currently accepting donations and will host a fundraiser on Saturday from 5-9 p.m. to support John Carberry, 30, whose mother, Ellen Carberry, was killed in the Dec. 5 fire. The diner will raffle off gift baskets and gifts donated by local merchants, and will serve beer, wine and appetizers.

“We thought, ‘Alright, we’re going to take this upon ourselves,’ because we know so many people and we’ve been here forever,” said the diner’s Janet Eckel.

John Carberry worked at the diner for about 10 years, Eckel said, from his teenage years until about four years ago. His mother, Eckel said, was a bartender at Gunther’s down the street for three decades.

The support so far has been “overwhelming,” Eckel said, with merchants making generous donations.

John Carberry is “somebody you want to do something for because he’s so well-loved,” Eckel said, noting that he has “a real group of good friends… just good loyalty.”

Diner owner Tim Hess has been one of John’s friends for 20 years now, he said.

“His mom was a wonderful lady… She was a good friend, too,” Hess said, recalling that Ellen Carberry would bring over homemade jams.

The fundraiser is an effort to help John because he “lost everything,” Hess said.

“He lost his car, the house, his mom… I just want to do something for the guy,” he said.

According to Eckel, the goal is to raise $25,000.

“Mostly he’s got very good friends because John is an absolute angel,” said Eckel, who said she was a “close family friend” of the Carberrys. “He will do anything for anyone and has always.”

John and his mother had escaped the active house fire when Ellen re-entered the home in what police said may have been an attempt to rescue two cats. Northport Fire Chief Joe Pansini and Assistant Chiefs Brad Wine and John Jacobsen attempted to enter the burning house to search for the woman but were forced back out due to the high heat and the heavy fire load. The East Northport and Centerport Fire Departments assisted with fire ground operations. Police arrived at the Theron Place address to find Ellen, 64, dead inside.

The day after the fire, Northport resident Bobby Morsch, a friend of John Carberry, started a page to raise money for John. As of Tuesday, the campaign had raised $3,735.

Tim’s Shipwreck Diner is located at 46 Main St. in Northport. To donate, call Janet or Samantha at 631-754-1797. To donate to the online campaign, call Morsch at 516-901-6003 or visit