I wanted to make sure I posted about another horrible tragedy that occurred Christmas eve morning. This time, it was in my hometown of Webster, NY, where I grew up. I went to school with Mike's wife (a fellow twin) so I am sharing my brothers blog post to get the word out for trying to spread kindness. The fire department is made up of all volunteer firefighters and I also went to school with the Kohlmeier family who are very involved in the west Webster fire department. Thankfully, none of them were injured, but the pain and hurt they are all going through with their family shouldn't be unnoticed. Thoughts and prayers are with everyone during this difficult time. I thought about them a lot over the holidays.
Two volunteer firefighters, 19-year-old Tomasz Kaczowk and 43-year-old Mike Chiapperini were shot and killed and two others, Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter were seriously wounded, all when responding to what they thought was a routine house/car fire. An off duty police officer John Ritter, just passing by, heading to work in a neighboring town, sustained minor injuries and is credited with keeping others from entering the area, possibly saving many more lives.
Rather than focus on the events of that terrible day, I would like to focus on the amazing outpouring of support I've seen from the community and from everyone all across the nation and even from across the globe! I also wanted to provide ways that you can help out.
Main Facebook Page:
There you will currently find a pay it forward type event going on where they are encouraging individuals and businesses alike to pay for rooms for firefighters coming into town to attend funeral events scheduled for tomorrow and this coming weekend.
Most of the hotels in the area are providing highly discounted bereavement rates to help out as well.
Here are the details: "If you wish to donate a room(s) for visiting fire departments or participate in our corporate challenge simply contact a local Webster/Rochester hotel, make all necessary arrangements and we will recognize your gift on our page."
Bereavement Rates for Webster/Rochester area hotels:
Hampton Inn Webster: $76
Holiday Inn Express: $ 79
Fairfield Inn: $89
Hampton Inn Greece: $79
Rochester Plaza: $69
Quality Inn Airport: $64
Towpath Hotel: $60/$65
Hyatt Regency: $92
Doubletree Hilton Henrietta: $85
RIT Inn & Conference Center: $60
Radisson Airport: $60
Hampton Inn Irondequoit: $75
Homewood Suites Greece: $96
Doubletree Strathallan: $119
Radisson Riverside: $60
Holiday Inn Express Irondequoit: $68
Homewood Suites Henrietta: $79
Comfort Inn Suites Henrietta: $69
Best Western Marketplace Inn: $59
Woodcliff Hotel & Spa: $108 Fairfied Inn by Marriott East (Webster) - $79
Fairfied Inn by Marriott South (Henrietta) - $79
Fairfied Inn by Marriott Rochester Airport - $79
The Rochester Marriott Airport Hotel - $89
Courtyard by Marriott Rochester West - $79
Residence Inn by Marriott Rochester West- $89
Courtyard by Marriott Penfield - $79
Courtyard by Marriott Brighton - $79
The Renaissance Del Monte Lodge Hotel & Spa - $129
It is great to see that the number of rooms donated by businesses and individuals is really picking up the pace this morning! That includes a two room donation from our friends and former WNers that own Ann O'Malley's pub in St Augustine.
Mike Chiapperini Memorial Fund
Additionally, a memorial fund to benefit Officer Chiapperini's surviving children has been established at his family's request at ESL Federal Credit Union. Individuals (whether ESL members or non-members) who wish to contribute to this fund may do so by cash or check. Checks must be payable to "Chiapperini Memorial Fund." Deposits can be accepted at all ESL locations, or may be mailed to:
Michael Chiapperini Memorial Fund
ESL Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 92714
Rochester, NY 14692-8814
I have an email out to ESL to see if there is also a way to do a bank transfer into that account, rather than mailing a check. I will report back if/when I get any details.
IndieGoGo Donation Page
You can also make an online donation on this page as well.
Webster Community Chest Support For Fire Victims That Lost Their Homes
Other ways to help
If you happen to be in town and wanted to help in person, I've seen several offers from individuals and local businesses offering to provide food/support during any of the various events scheduled around town as well as new ways to assist popping up on that Facebook page by the minute.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks ahead of time for your generosity! As a way to encourage giving, I pledge to give at least $100 to the Michael Chiapperini Memorial fund. I will also match, up to an additional $100, for anyone that makes a donation to the fund or any of the other causes under way.
**My brother has just informed me that he exceeded his goal for matching, but we need to keep going! I have my check written and will mail it out for the Chiapperini Memorial fund. What about you?