Vincent's Views: Flooding Richwood with Kindness

By Vincent Pinti on September 03, 2016 from Vincent’s Views via

Our community has, yet again, taken the initiative by going above and beyond in donating a whopping $8,200 in flood relief for Richwood city schools. This must be a record because not only did we raise $8,200, many of my sources say we did it in two hours alone! What makes it even more impressive is the fact that the vast majority of money was collected by our local high school students. The Student Council and DECA organizations, among many others, truly deserve a pat on the back. The organization and dedication could not have been possible without Mrs. Trina Runner’s close connection with the region affected by the flooding.
“After my hometown was flooded, I went back to volunteer in the clean-up efforts.  While there, we found out just how bad the devastation was and that the schools lost everything, and it wasn’t covered by insurance.  They started collecting supplies for the students, but the teachers were expected to relocate to temporary buildings for the year with absolutely no school supplies. They weren’t even allowed to go into the school and see what they could salvage.
I immediately contacted Principal Mark DeFazio, Assistant Principal Matt DeMotto and Assistant Principal Mary Frances Smith, who immediately got on board.  From there, I met with Mrs. Cheryl McCarthy, Mrs. Renee Mathews, Mrs. Kathy Cox, Mrs. Charlene Keener, Mrs. Marsha Coakley and some student representatives from school clubs to brainstorm for ideas.  We knew we needed to collect money and buy gift cards so teachers could get whatever supplies they needed for their areas of expertise.  After talking with Mr. Defazio, we decided to organize a community collection.  We all met and mapped out the plan, making sure no one was collecting in the same areas.  I was actually at church camp during the actual collection, so the other teachers supervised and organized for the students to go out into the community.  Remarkably, I received a text at camp saying they had raised over $8,000!!!  It was such an answered prayer!  Mr. Defazio treated students to pizza to celebrate that night,” Runner said.
She then went on to say “I absolutely loved growing up in Richwood. It was similar to Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show. The positive attitude and kindness of my hometown can only be matched by Bridgeport. I moved 17 times since high school, and I have never lived in a community where so many people are so eager to help out.  I hope we can be used as an example of how people react in bad situations. We pray, we act, we help, we love, unconditionally,” she concluded.
A member of the Sophomore Student Council Executive Board, Raeanne Beckner, gave her perspective of the event as she walked door to door. Raeanne and a few of her friends gathered roughly $200 just on three streets in Bridgeport. She had felt really inspired by the contributions to the Richwood community during their time of crisis. Raeanne also wanted to let the Student Council know, among multiple other clubs she participates in, how much she appreciates their dedication to the values of community service.
I also talked with another person who made a great contribution of time and effort to the flood drive and that is Mrs. Renee Mathews who helped advertise and organize much of the event; she designated which streets which students were supposed to go down. One of the reasons she felt so motivated to be part of this flood drive was when she heard the accounts of the devastating effects the flooding had on Richwood schools.
“When I heard the news, I thought about our school, and our classrooms, thinking what if that happened to us?” said Mathews.
She also went on to say that if anything of that magnitude ever hit Bridgeport, she would hope another community would come out and help us in the same way.
All in all, Bridgeport deserves recognition. The parents, students, and teachers are all driven to making this state a much better place. I am personally in awe how easily we came together. Just as the rest of our country comes together during an emergency, our communities feel the urge to do the same. Thank you citizens of Bridgeport for making our town one of the best places to live.
Editor's Note: Vincent Pinti is a fifteen-year-old- sophomore at Bridgeport High School. He is the son of Donna Booth and Jon Pinti. A students in Mrs. Alice Rowe's journalism program, he would like to pursue a career in international law and political science.

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