When the time comes to give back

Charity is defined in five different ways when you look it up in the dictionary: 1. generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless. 2. something given to a person or persons in need; alms.  3. a charitable act or work. 4. a charitable fund, foundation, or institution. 5. benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need or in disfavor

The definition of charity in the dictionary seems so very cold and impersonal. If I were to asked to define the word, I would do it much differently. I truly believe that the only way to truly give to charity is to find something that you can genuinely stand behind, and have if not a direct personal connection to, then a connection that you feel deep in your soul.

When my now husband and I moved to Rhode Island 6 years ago this month, we knew just a little about this little state. We moved on a wing and a prayer for lack of a better term.  We had only visited a handful of times, and knew little bits of the states history; the flood of ’54, the America’s Cup, and the Tennis Hall of Fame, and that Anthony Quinn had lived in the sleepy little fisherman town that we unknowingly at the time, would settle in.  Though it was before we met, we had both heard of one of the most recent Rhode Island tragedies, if not in the country, it was never in the front of our memories.

Fast forward a few years, and through a mutual connection, we have become friends with some people from the “West Bay” of Rhode Island. Through those friends, we have also become exposed to the personal side of tragedy. Every one of our friends from the “West Bay” were either present when the tragedy happened, or were directly affected by it.

On a cold February night almost ten years ago, die hard concert and metal music fans alike set out to see a show in West Warwick, Rhode Island, at the Station Night Club. They did not get even 10 minutes into the show when the unthinkable occurred. Pyrotechnics used in the show, set off a highly flammable (and later discovered) illegal sound proofing. What occurred next is something that is unthinkable. The Station Night Club was fully engulfed in flames that were uncontrollable within the 5 1/2 minutes it took the local fire department to arrive. When the final numbers were announced, 100 people had lost their lives, 230 people were injured, and many (too many) children lost one or both parents. It was the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in American history.

It is the Station Fire Memorial Foundations purpose is to ensure that the loved ones would receive a proper and timely memorial upon the sacred ground where their lives were so tragically cut short. It is their intent that the Foundation will procure the land known as the Station Site and not only build but maintain the Memorial site and as such, fundraising is expected to be long-term.

It is an honor to be able to participate in the fundraiser, and to be even a little bit associated with those involved. Ink Meets Paper Design has donated a gift basket to be raffled off at the Station Fire Memorial Foundations Annual Ride to Remember, and will be at the event supporting not only the friends we have made, but everyone else that has been affected by this tragedy. If you are local to the area, please stop by the event. If you do get a chance to stop by, take a walk into the Rock Junction (where the event is being held) and take as much time as you can to look over the memorial wall where you will find a picture and brief bio on everyone lost in the fire. I did for the first time this past week, and I read as many as time allowed me, and was moved beyond words. If you are not local, please look up the Memorial Foundation and if you are able to give, please do so.

Nothing can be done to bring back those lost, nor can what happened be changed, but through memories that both friends and families remember and share keep those lost alive, and ensure those affected will never be forgotten.

So, in conclusion. When the time to came to give back, there was no question, no hesitation. In the gift basket donated, there is a small card saying it is an honor to be a part of the event, but also saying that The Station Memorial Foundation and the efforts of those involved are a true testament to the 100 lives lost, the hundreds injured and the thousands affected.  Ten years later, not one name has been forgotten and no one affected by this tragedy has been at a loss as to where to turn for companionship or understanding. This is something that though I was not directly affected by, but I do without a doubt have a connection that I feel deep in my soul.

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