On a cloudy Saturday morning the members of the Sully Station Community Swim Team raised about $400 in a car wash fund-raiser for Reema Samaha and Erin Peterson, two local students who died tragically in the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16.
Reema and Erin were graduates of Westfield High School and lived in the Sully Station community. Proceeds from the car wash go towards scholarship funds in their names.
The members of the swim team made large, colorful posters focusing on the Virginia Tech colors: orange and maroon. “Reema Samaha and Erin Peterson were members of the Sully community," said swim coach Jennifer Chapman while making posters. "The money we earn goes towards the scholarship at Westfield. The scholarship is in their names.” Chapman feels personally connected to Reema, Erin and to her community, “When a tragedy happens a community is there for one another. Everyone in the Sully Station community is connected and is there for the families of Reema and Erin.” Karen Fiala, who organized the event, said she got the swim team involved because “it’s real important the kids give back to the community.” This is not the first fund-raiser the swim team has organized. “We have done this for the past three years — last year it was for the police victims' fund, and the year before was hurricane Katrina.” Fiala felt it was significant to demonstrate how important it is to remember Reema and Erin with a fundraiser, “Our swim team tries to do something each year to help out the community. This year we felt it was really important for the swimmers to realize just how important it is to give back to the community. We felt this was an appropriate way to remember Reema and Erin.” When asked on how she felt about the VT fundraiser, Chapman said, “Reema and Erin were part of the community. We wanted their legacy to live on and we wanted people to remember who they were and as athletes - as swimmers, we wanted to show that they will be deeply missed.”
Last year the swim team raised $700 in donations from the car wash and also by putting out a jar at swim events so people could donate money for the police victims' fund.
On Monday, June 25, at the Sully Station Community Center , the Sully Station swim team will be competing against Virginia Run, hoping to raise enough money between the two events. The goal is to raise $500 in order to donate $250 each to the scholarship fund.