WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s faith communities are joining forces to support those affected by the Station Nightclub Fire.
The Station Fire Memorial Foundation is just $400,000 short of its $2 million goal needed to build the Station Fire Memorial Park at the scene of the tragedy.
More than 500 congregations are being asked to raise money this weekend to help cover the remaining cost. The fundraising efforts will vary – from second collections at Masses to pasta dinners and concerts.
Following the horrific night of February 20, 2003, many victims and their families turned to their places of worship to find the strength needed to cope.
“That’s what faith does, it helps carry our life’s burdens,” said Fr. Robert Marciano of Saint Kevin Church.
Fr. Marciano, a chaplain for Warwick’s police and fire departments, said he was on the scene that night. He then spent years offering support to first responders, victims and families.
“It is the foundation of our faith, no matter what it is, that saves you from these overwhelming events in our lives,” he told Eyewitness News on Friday. “Although they don’t’ make any sense… together we can get through it.”
Fr. Marciano said he hopes Rhode Islanders will come together to offer a place for families to continue to heal.
“It’s consoling to the families to know that we still care. We haven’t forgotten,” he said. “Thirteen years later we have not forgotten and we will not forget and this memorial will be sure that future generations will not forget the 100 lives lost and over 200 injured, including some of our first responders.”
The site, which Fr. Marciano said he once couldn’t drive by himself, will soon become an inviting park of tranquility.
“A place that’s of great tragedy will finally become a place of peace,” he said.
The hope is to have a formal dedication of the park in the fall.