Communities come together to honor and support Ava

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Nine-year-old is daughter of fallen Firefighter Christopher Roy

(l to r) Sheila Doiron, John Dumas, event emcee, Heather Vuona, and Shrewsbury Fire Chief Jim Vuona

By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Shrewsbury – After Worcester Firefighter Christopher Roy, a resident of Shrewsbury, died from injuries suffered in a fire in December, members of the community at large were determined that his nine-year-old daughter Ava would not be forgotten. As such, numerous organizations held fundraisers for the little girl. On Jan. 25 one of the biggest ones, a benefit for the Ava Roy Fund, was held as community leaders and firefighters from Shrewsbury, Northborough and Westborough joined forces for an event held at Maironis Park in Shrewsbury.

“There is a lot of good will in the room this evening,” said Gayle Vigeant, a member of the Host Committee.

Well over 300 people were in attendance, helping to raise $50,000.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, herself a resident of Shrewsbury, addressed the attendees.

“We can’t turn back what happened but we can say thank you for the service and  do what we need to support  the Roy family so I want to thank all the professional firefighters across the commonwealth of Massachusetts and  I stand tonight with all of you in great pride and honor…” she said.

Polito noted that “Ava is ours and she has a seat in Shrewsbury school’s classrooms until she graduates from high school and that that is our responsibility here.”

Ava is “one of us” and Christopher (a single father) lived his life for Ava, she added.

“Here tonight at Maironis Park in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts is what’s right about this country. This is what a community is supposed to look like and this is how a community is supposed to react in times of tragedy,” said U. S. Congressman Jim McGovern. “It makes me proud to represent Shrewsbury and this is also a way to say thank you to our first responders.”

The evening featured entertainment provided by Tim Pitney and Red Badge, Dark Horse and the Worcester Jazz Collective. There was a silent auction, and raffle as well as a 50/50 drawing.

The 50/50 alone brought in $1,830. Mike and Michelle Bowles were the winners but donated their winnings back to the fund. Mike is a Shrewsbury Firefighter.

“Tonight is really showcasing the best of Shrewsbury, when the chips are down for someone when there is a difficult situation, when there is a tragedy this community rallies and tonight is an example of that…not only for Shrewsbury but for Northborough and Westborough,” remarked Jason Palitsch, Host Committee member and chair of the Shrewsbury School Committee.

To make a donation, send checks made payable to the Ava Roy Fund c/o the Hannah Kane Charitable Foundation, P.O. Box 595, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

photos/Melanie Petrucci

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and U. S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA 2nd District)
(l to r) Melanie Magee; B. Dale Magee, Shrewsbury School Committee; Lynsey Heffernan; Neil Heffernan; and Cristina Heffernan
(l to r) U. S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA 2nd District) and Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.