Memorial picnic to be held for families of shooting victims
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Wed., Apr. 20, 2011
For many, there are constant reminders of the shooting tragedy that occurred on Aug. 3, 2010, at Hartford Distributors, Inc. in Manchester. As the anniversary of the workplace shooting nears, members of the Rotary Club of Manchester wanted to reach out to those whose lives were affected by this event, and to help with the healing process.
“Have we given them time to heal?” asks Kate Sims, who is organizing the Rotarian’s efforts for the
“I have to believe that a lot of people are in the same boat that I’m in,” said Hartford Distributors Vice President Steve Hollander, who was injured in the shooting. “Some days are better, but not a day goes by that you don’t think about them.” Although there is no way to change the past, Hollander said he tries to stay positive, by remembering each victim for his unique personality. He hopes that by coming together, there will be enough support to try to make things a little easier to live with.
The Rotarians first thought of honoring the police and emergency personnel who responded to the incident. However, fellow Rotarian and Manchester Chief of Police Marc Montminy suggested that the community effort should be directed to the families of the victims. “I don’t think this should be about the police and the emergency responders,” said Montminy. “This should be about healing and about the families whose members lost their lives.”
The Memorial Picnic will be held on Saturday, May 14, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Manchester Bicentennial Band Shell, located on the Manchester Community College campus. Tickets are $15 per person, with admission free for children under 12 years old. In addition to food and drinks, there will be inflatables and other activities for the kids, classic rock performed by the band In Deep, a health fair, Memorial Picnic t-shirts for purchase and a special fundraising tent sponsored by the Teamsters Local 1035. Ross Hollander, CEO of Hartford Distributors, will speak at the event, along with local and state officials. The Rotarians are anticipating more than 2,000 will attend.
Also on May 14, Trantolo & Trantolo is organizing a motorcycle ride, which will start at TSI Harley Davidson, located at 398 Somers Road in Ellington, and will end at the Memorial Picnic at the band shell. Registration for the ride runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m., with the ride starting at noon. The cost for participating in the motorcycle ride is $25, which includes admission to the picnic.
“It’s a tremendous feeling to know you’re raising funds for a great cause,” said Norm Leblanc, event coordinator and marketing manager for Trantolo & Trantolo. The motorcycle ride is a non-stop, police-escorted ride. In October 2010, a similar ride raised more than $12,000 for the Teamsters’ memorial fund. “It was a terrible tragedy,” added Leblanc, “and we need as much support as we can get.” He is expecting 500 to 800 riders. To pre-register, contact TSI Harley Davidson at 860-875-6663, or Norm Leblanc at 860-830-1256, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The intent of the picnic was to raise funds for the Memorial Garden,” explained Sims. “Our goal is to raise $100,000.” The anticipated cost of the garden is $60,000, with the balance of the raised funds being donated to the
Fellow Rotarian and local architect Rick Lawrence stepped forward to coordinate the Memorial Garden. His firm has recently been involved with the Hollanders for the expansion of the Hartford Distributors facility, as well as with Fuss & O’Neill, which recently established a landscape architecture department. “Knowing the Hollanders,” said Lawrence, “I felt I wanted to give back to them.”
The Memorial Garden will be located on the
For more information about the picnic and the
According to Sims, this is the biggest project the Rotarians have organized. “It’s made us realize what we’re here for,” said Sims, who noted that the mission of the Rotary is to give back to the community. The Rotary is a service club of members who hold or are retired from a professional, proprietary, executive, or managerial position. The Rotary Club of Manchester meets from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday nights at the Manchester Country Club. “It’s all about giving back,” said Sims, who invites prospective new members to come to a meeting and learn what the Rotary is all about.