It's a mark that shows what can happen when people give back to the community. It's a mark that will help others in need. It's certainly a mark Tom Collins and Chris Panatier would be proud of.
That mark is $100,000, and it has been achieved by those working on behalf of the Collins/Panatier 9/11 Memorial Foundation. The organization was in memory of Tom and Chris, members of the Hills East class of 1983. Both died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Both live on through a garden in their name at the school, and they live on through the foundation that bears their name.
"Our intention going into it was to reach out in the community where we all grew up, and help those less fortunate than us," said fellow class of '83 alum and foundation board member Paul Spreer.
The foundation now can say they have raised $100,000 to do just that. Fundraisers are held throughout the year in the form of golf outings and other events such as a wine tasting/fashion show scheduled for February 2 at Saks Fifth Avenue at Walt Whitman Mall.
Money raised goes to the various causes the foundation supports, such as Angela's House and Alec's Run. The foundation also awards $2000 scholarships to two deserving Hills East seniors each spring. It's all about giving back, according to Paul Spreer.
"Every year since we've been around we've gotten together with the school board to identify certain families or individuals that we'd be able to help out, whether through the donation of food or gift cards or whatever the case may be," he said.
Spreer says reaching the $100K mark shows how tight knit the community is, which is something Tom Collins and Chris Panatier would be proud of, as they were all about inclusion, and getting people involved.
"There's no bigger tribute to Tommy and Chris than one, being able to take care of folks less fortunate, and two, being able to make new friends as a result of it," Spreer said.
Go to http://www.tccpmemorialfoundation.org/ to find out more about how to give your time to the Collins/Panatier 9/11 Memorial Foundation.