Sunday's Love and Compassion Benefit for victims of last week's fire and shootings has expanded to two locations and local businesses and residents will be showing their support for the victims with a display of purple ribbons.
The benefit will run from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at Crowley-Barnum American Legion Post No. 25 in Mohawk, where there will be food and live music. A heated tent will be set up outside to make sure there is enough room for the anticipated number of people, according to Shawn McGraw, of Envision Event Management, who is organizing the benefit with Ed View. The donation is $10.
The Chinese auction will run from noon until 5:30 p.m. at Francesca's Banquet Facility in Ilion with drawings to take place at 6 p.m.
The idea for the purple ribbon display came when members of the Mohawk business community wanted to find a way to show support for John Seymour, of John's Barber Shop, and the other victims, according to Rebecca Smith, of Accent Brokerage.
“I talked to some of the business owners,” she said. “John is right across the street and in support of John I asked if the businesses would be willing to get ribbons for the storefronts. We were going to do just the two blocks, but we've expanded to the entire business district.”
Smith said purple was chosen because it is the color for non-violence, as well as the traditional color for Easter. Dark purple ribbons will be displayed on poles and lighter ones on the storefronts.
“People were asking if they could buy them for their houses too,” she said. Some in Herkimer also expressed interest. “I'd love to have people drive through and see a ton of purple ribbons.”
Arrangements were made to purchase the ribbons from Massaro & Son Florist and Greenhouses, East Herkimer, and Smith expects the ribbons will be hung today and Saturday in order to be in place in time for the benefit.
She said she wanted to get the word out in case there are other businesses or individuals who would like to get involved.
“We wanted to show our support as a community, as a whole, for all of the victims. Everybody's been impacted in some way, shape or form by this,” said Smith. “This is something simple, but we wanted to make a statement.”
Benefit and Chinese auction
The benefit has received a great deal of support, according to McGraw, with seven bands scheduled to take part. He added some acoustical acts might be performing in the heated tent outside the Legion.
He estimated the benefit has received more than 200 donations, between food, baskets, gift certificates, items for the Chinese auction and funds.
Page 2 of 2 - “We've received monetary donations of over $3,600 and we haven't even had the benefit yet,” he said when contacted Thursday afternoon.
“We've got some unbelievable things for the Chinese auction,” according to View. He said a gas station had donated $500 in gas cars, a set of plans for a small house, gazebo or shed valued at $600, recliner chairs, NASCAR items including a fender from a car, a book showing World Series games with replicas of shoulder patches dating from 1923 to the mid-1960s and a large screen television set. There will even be a hand-carved clock.
Benefit-goers will also have the opportunity to donate items such as blankets and dog food in memory of Ape, the dog that was killed when a tactical team located gunman Kurt Myers inside the former Glory Days. McGraw said the items would be donated to an appropriate organization.
Proceeds from the benefit will go to the victims of the shootings and the fire. Myers is believed to have set fire to his apartment on South Washington Street before going to John's Barber Shop and shooting four men there, two fatally, and killing two men at Gaffey's in Herkimer. Killed in the shooting spree were Harry Montgomery Sr., of Mohawk; Michael Ransear, of Herkimer; Thomas Stefka, of Herkimer and Michael Renshaw, of Frankfort. John Seymour and Dan Haslauer were hospitalized following the attack. There were two other apartments in the South Washington Street building where Myers lived and those residents were displaced by the fire.
Donations may also be sent to Adirondack Bank, c/o Love and Compassion Benefit,
P.O. Box 590, Herkimer, NY 13350. Checks should be made payable to: Love and Compassion Benefit.
For more information, contact McGraw at 895-0183.