Press-Republican

September 26, 2013

Concern for fire victims generates generosity

BEN ROWE
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — As Plattsburgh rallies to support those affected by last Friday’s Couch Street fire, Laura Colon remains focused on the condition of her friend and fellow SUNY Plattsburgh student Alexa Limato. 

Severely injured in the fire at the eight-apartment building and rescued from the third floor by Plattsburgh City Fire Department firefighters, Limato was admitted to CVPH Medical Center before being airlifted to the Clark Burn Center of Syracuse Upstate University Hospital. 

The hospital wouldn’t provide an update on her condition, but on Wednesday afternoon, Colon said she was serious but stable.

Limato, a senior, is a psychology major at SUNY Plattsburgh.

A benefit will be held for her at the Green Room in downtown Plattsburgh today from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The event will feature live music from DJ FancyMusic, DJ XXX, DJ Skippy and a special guest DJ, and admission donations will be collected at the door.

LONGTIME FRIENDS

The Green Room event is one of several fundraisers that have been organized in the week following the fire, which left 11 homeless, in an effort to raise funds for them. 

For Colon, the Green Room event in particular serves as relief from the sense of helplessness and sudden sense of panic that struck her when she heard about the fire and her friend’s injuries.

Colon has known Limato since middle school in Central Valley.

“If she would have been at CVPH, I would have been over there in a second, but at this point, I didn’t know what to do,” Colon said.

GOOD FRIEND

Colon focused that anxiety into motivation when she learned of the Green Room benefit. Organized by Green Room owner Chris Dumont, it provided a platform for Colon to bring attention to Limato’s cause through a public relations campaign.

Limato’s boyfriend, Brian Carroll, works at the Green Room, and police officers went there to notify him about her injuries.

A good friend of Carroll’s, Dumont was quick to offer support.

“The night that it took place, I gave him all the money in my wallet and the keys to my car to drive to Syracuse to be with her,” Dumont said. 

Though he developed the idea for the fundraiser, Dumont was quick to give credit to Carroll, Colon and Green House DJ Orin Conn for their help in organizing and promoting the event.

SLIDESHOW, RAFFLE

The night will be centered around the theme of Limato’s personality, with a purple color scheme and music to reflect her energetic personality. 

Along with the live music, Dumont said, a raffle will be held to collect additional funds, and a slideshow will be playing to display photos of Limato.

He is overwhelmed by the support that the event has received since first being advertised and said that the bar is expected to be filled to capacity.

“I’ve just been shocked by all the people calling and offering their services and, honestly, I just can’t believe it,” he said.

ON-CAMPUS FUNDRAISERS

For the remaining tenants displaced by the fire, six of whom are students at SUNY Plattsburgh, the college’s Center for Student Involvement and Project HELP organization have planned a variety of on-campus fundraising events.

Although Project HELP is collecting the donations, total funds raised will be donated to the North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross for distribution. 

Assistant Director of Campus Activities Michael Cashman said the Red Cross will consult with the fire victims and distribute the funds based on their individual needs.

As for any future fundraising, Cashman said Project HELP would be considering the financial situations of those affected before making any further plans.

“As we continue to learn more, we will evaluate our ability to address those concerns,” he said.

+++++

HOW TO HELP

Here’s a list of on-campus fundraisers to assist the fire victims.

▶ Campus Express will sell street sign cut-outs featuring the Red Cross symbol that will be posted in the convenience store, located in Angell College Center.

▶ Students will host a coin drive from 6 to 7 p.m. today in the residence halls.

▶ Students will also table for donations in Angell College Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Friday and also Monday through Friday next week.

▶ The college’s Gospel Choir will donate all proceeds from this weekend’s Taking It Back concert, set for 7 p.m. Saturday in the Warren Ballrooms, Angell Center.

In addition, the Champlain Valley Quilters Guild of New York is offering a handmade quilt to each of the affected students.

To contribute, contact Project HELP at 564-4830 or the Red Cross at www.redcross.org, (800) RED-CROSS or 561-7280. Donations of money are most helpful.