Monday, January 21st, 2019

Community members show support to Noyes St. victims through fundraising

Francis Flisiuk

Posted on November 10, 2014 in News
By Francis Flisiuk

From donation based yoga classes, to student run bake sales and concerts, many fundraising efforts have sprung up in Portland to help the affected families of the Noyes St. fire pay for funeral costs and to provide assistance to the two survivors who lost their possessions.

While the investigation regarding the exact cause of the fire is still ongoing, several grieving community members and philanthropists said that funeral costs are very expensive and money should be raised to help the devastated families of the victims.

Eli Hubble, a friend and a co-worker of the deceased Bragdon Jr. said that the entire Portland community suffered a severe loss in this horrible tragedy.

“These were amazing people that gave nothing but love and compassion to the community; let’s give something back,” said Hubble.

Mary Crowley, the president of the student nursing organization, said that survivors like USM students Kyle Bozeman and Nick Marcketta will need financial help to start regaining the possessions they lost in the inferno.

Crowley had her nursing students raise money by hosting a bake sale in Woodbury Campus Center.

“Our students were amazed at how many people thanked them,” said Crowley. “Anytime anyone in our community is struck by a tragedy, it’s a selfless move to try and offer help in whatever way you can.”

After four hours the students raised over $341, which is planned to be split and given to both the  survivors and the families of the deceased.

“I felt that it was only the right things to do,” said Kayleigh Calvert, a sophomore nursing student who passed out cupcakes to people who donated.

Next to the Woodbury campus center, at the Sullivan gym, another contribution to the cause was gearing up.

Whitney Lutz, a faculty member in the nursing department, redirected her original fundraising plans of community partnership in the Dominican Republic, to instead benefit the Noyes St. victims, with  a black light yoga event. Yoga poses in a dimly lit room led to about $145 raised.

“The switch was very fitting given the gravity of this tragedy involving USM students,” said Lutz. “We felt it would be a good time to bring the campus community closer and have time for reflection and support with one another.”

Opportunities to donate were also made available at every cash register on campus in the form of a box asking customers to “remember the Noyes. St. victims.” The boxes were put out by Aramark.

Grace Tyler, a former USM student has spearheaded two money collecting campaigns outside of the immediate campus community. Using the hashtag #RememberNoyes and a GoFundMe page online, Tyler has managed to raise over $3,000 in four days. Tyler said that it’s important to recognize the wonderful people that had their lives stolen from them.

“I’m trying to show the [affected] families that they are supported by the community,” said Tyler. “This money is in no way going to mend the broken hearts of those who have lost their loved ones and gone through such a painful experience, but it will at least help ease the monetary stress.”

Tyler described Finlay, Thomas and Bragdon Jr., who frequented the events at the Space for Grace community center, as happy, beautiful souls.

Tyler’s fundraising efforts also takes the form of a 12-hour concert, featuring at least seven local bands at her venue on Saturday the 15th. Tyler said the door charge donation will cost $10. According to the event’s Facebook page, over 350 people will be in attendance.

Whitney Carroll, a Portland local, wrote to Tyler on the event’s Facebook page, “You have a way of bringing the community together that is truly amazing.”

Support for those affected also comes from as far away as Bangor, with Andre Hicks Jr., a hip hop musician, donating all of the ticket sales from his next show to the Noyes St. fund.

#207Together Hip Hop Showcase invites everybody to “come together and celebrate the lives of our friends lost in a horrible fire.”

Hicks, who is a native of Portland but is hosting the show up in Bangor to meet up with other musicians, said that he’s never seen anything like what happened on Noyes St.

“I don’t care about the credit or the money, I just want to help out in any way that I can,” said Hicks. “I figured, I have talent, people come to my shows, why don’t I use that to make something fun and positive out of this horrible tragedy.”

Hicks, whose stage name is Dray Junior, said that he’s positive his rap show will sell out.

Several fundraisers believe that the pain of losing a loved one in such a brutal way can never be abated by raising money, but there is something valuable to the community coming together in such a positive way.

Bryan Kessler, a former USM student and electronic musician said he wants to get as many people aware and involved as possible.

“Portland has responded well,” said Kessler. “You can see how well connected the city is after something tragic like this happens.”



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