Station Fire Memorial Foundation raises $200,000 - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Station Fire Memorial Foundation raises $200,000

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A new fundraising effort has begun to build a memorial at the site of The Station nightclub fire that killed 100 people in 2003.

Groundbreaking for the permanent memorial is expected in July, with the target completion in November.

The Station Fire Memorial Foundation is the only remaining fund that's helping to heal the wounds caused by the fire.

"I am a survivor of the fire, burned over 40 percent of my body. I also very tragically lost a fiance, Alfred, in the fire as well. That's what makes this all the more important. I got to live, some surgeries along the way, but that's OK because that means I get to give this back to him and to the 99 others that passed away," said Gina Russo of the Station Fire Memorial Foundation.

Richard Leonti, who works at Valvoline Instant Oil Change, met Russo after the fire, became friends, and was thinking of a way to help. His idea? Selling "window clings" for a $1, $3 or $5.

"Just to be able to do something for her and be able to deliver on it, it meant a lot to me, and my heart is filled with emotion for her today," Leonti said.

There is $200,000 in the foundation kitty, but it will cost $2 million to build and maintain the memorial. All the proceeds from the window clings go to building and maintaining the memorial.

Valvoline challenges other companies to step up to the plate with what they can do to help raise money as well.

"It was a terrible thing, and the only thing you can do is try to help bring some peace to the families," said David Vieira of Valvoline.

Editor's Note: There are 4 Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations participating. 

Locations include 1600 Post Rd, Warwick, RI (401) 738-9935;  1130 Warwick Ave, Warwick, RI (401) 467-6888;  520 Reservoir Ave, Cranston, RI (401) 781-2392 and 159 Putnam Pike, Johnston, RI.


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