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The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Grieving family's Santa Fund fund-raiser event marred by fire

From the Eagle Tribune;

Grieving family's Santa Fund fund-raiser event marred by fire
By Mike LaBella

ATKINSON, N.H. - Nicole Bailey was in the midst of helping to plan a benefit fund-raiser in memory of her brother, John "Jay" Bourdelais, 23, who was killed in an auto accident just a few weeks before Christmas last year.

Her family's plans to raise money for The Eagle-Tribune Santa Fund were interrupted last Tuesday when another tragedy befell them.

An electrical fire destroyed John's old bedroom and caused smoke damage throughout the Atkinson house where he lived with his parents Robin and John Bourdelais. The family is staying in temporary housing on their property until the damage is repaired.

"All my memories of John were destroyed," said Robin Bourdelais.

Also ruined were several baskets that were going to be raffled at the fund-raiser. Friends who had donated the baskets made new ones, she said. Paper goods and party decorations Robin Bourdelais had collected for the fund-raiser were also ruined.

"My mom wasn't going to let a fire put a stop to this event," said Bailey, 25, of Haverhill, Mass. "We're just coming up on the one-year anniversary. The fire was a downer for the holidays, but my mom is coping by working on this event."

When news of the fire spread, John's friends, family members as well as individuals and local businesses responded with a deluge of new raffle items. One New Hampshire business even donated a canoe for the event, something Bailey said her brother would have appreciated.

"John loved to fish," Bailey said.

The benefit intended to raise money for the Santa Fund will go on as planned and takes place tomorrow evening at the AmVets on Primrose Street in Haverhill. Bailey said all 200 tickets to this sold-out event were purchased by friends, family members and those who knew John. She hopes the event will raise $2,000 or more for the Santa Fund.

"My brother's friends really helped out, especially the Shields family of Raymond, N.H.," Bailey said. "They helped my mom and replaced a lot of the decorations and paper goods that were burned. Some of my brothers' friends replaced the baskets that were burned. My brother had great friends and he'd do the same for them."

Bailey said her sisters, Meagan Bourdelais, 22, of Atkinson, and Lori Lopez, 26, of Deerfield, N.H., helped in planning the fund-raiser as well.

She said her brother would have appreciated his family's efforts to help local families and children this holiday season.

"He really had a way with kids," Bailey said.

This family's efforts to help the Santa Fund began last year following the death of John Bourdelais. Because his burial in Atkinson was delayed due to the cold weather, his family had asked that in lieu of flowers, donations in his name be made to the Santa Fund.

"We wanted to do it again this year and we hope to do this every year," Bailey said. "If John knew we were doing this, it would make him so happy."

Those attending tomorrow's fund-raiser were asked to bring along canned goods to be distributed among local food pantries.

"We just wanted to make as many families happy as possible," Robin Bourdelais said.


MAcciard said...

I dont know exactly where this family lives, but if they are having an auction or raffle to raise funds, My business will donate a gift certificate for free carpet or tile and grout cleaning. I will also get my brother to donate free painting, and Gina to donate a free session of tumbling. These gift certificates can be raffled or auctioned off to raise funds. They will have a combined value of about $500.00.

I am sorry that I can't do more, but Merry Christmas.

If anyone knows how to reach this family let me know, or let them know to contact me.

MAcciard said...

I just heard about Joe, I am so sorry for his family. Joe was not only a great guy, but will be sorely missed by the town, having served in many of the towns official positions over the years.

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