KINGSTON — Members of the North Kitsap Boys & Girls Club are emphasizing Jan. 5, 2004 as a very important day to mark on next year’s calendar.
That’s the anticipated official start date for the new club. That’s also the deadline for a $50,000 goal for the club’s operational costs.
While committee members discussed various fund-raising possibilities at the group’s Sept. 10 evening meeting, the following morning offered a blaze of community support.
The club was the honored guest at North Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s Sept. 11 remembrance breakfast.
The fire department wanted to recognize the victims and the memories of the East Coast tragedy two years ago, but also emphasize there are positive things coming to pass down the road.
About 200 residents gathered at NKF&R headquarters and filled the club’s donation buckets with about $1,100 in donations in three hours.
NKF&R Chief Paul Nichol recognized the event and the teen organization, noting the two go hand-in-hand.
While Nichol emphasized what happened two years ago must not be forgotten, positive steps must be taken, “to put behind us that terrible thing.”
These steps include the creation and implementation of the new NKB&G club, he added.
To remember the victims and to support the future, a wide range of residents turned up for the event, including State Senator Betti Sheldon.
“I’m very supportive of the fire service in North Kitsap,” Sheldon said, who came from East Bremerton to enjoy the 7 a.m. breakfast in Kingston. “I do like to come up here. It’s remembering the sacrifice the fire service has to make.”
She also noted her support for the club because of they latch-key kids in their teenage years who need a place to go.
“I’m really excited to support the Boys & Girls Club,” she added.
Another part of the positive action was getting to know the neighbors within the community.
“What we wanted (was) lots of people sitting together who may have never talked before,” said Michéle Laboda, NKF&R Public Information Officer and NKB&G committee member. “Turning what was an unspeakable tragedy into some positive action for the future.”
NKB&G fund-raising chair Rose Norberg was excited to see the full house and was impressed with the caring nature of area citizens.
“It’s exciting to see so many good people that show they care,” she said. “Their motives are good and that’s what the kids need to see.”
Nichol was impressed by the turnout for the event as well as support for a community cause, noting this could become a tradition.
“I see a broad range of community members,” he said, observing the full room of kids, parents, business owners, Kingston Kiwanis members and firefighters. “I would like to think we could do this every year — a nice result for a bad thing that happened a few years ago.”