Local charities, residents show compassion through giving | CraigDailyPress.com

Local charities, residents show compassion through giving

Josh Nichols

When the terrorist attacks occurred one year ago today, Mark Leier sat at home that morning watching the events unfold on television.

Like most people, Leier could not get the tragic event out of his mind the entire day, and wanted to do something to help with the recovery effort in New York City.

The following morning he had an idea.

Leier, who owns Chaos Ink Precision Screen Printing in Craig, called an artist friend in Steamboat Springs to design a shirt commemorating the attacks.

The shirt he created displayed a United States flag and read “Come Together, Right Now in Remembrance of 9-11-01.”

Leier decided to print the

design in his shop and sell the shirts, donating proceeds to the American Red Cross.

The shirts sold fast, and sold a lot.

Leier dropped off one batch of 300 shirts at Safeway and Craig City Market.

When he got back from the initial delivery, the stores were already calling saying they needed more.

For the next couple of weeks at Chaos Ink it was business as usual during the day and printing “Come Together” shirts at night.

In the end, more than 4,000 shirts sold, and Leier, along with Amy Schram, who owns Chaos Ink with Leier, presented a $16,000 check to the Red Cross.

A year later, Schram said she is still in disbelief of how successful the T-shirt sale was.

“I still see the shirts all over,” she said.

“That’s the cool thing. It’s neat to see that people are still thinking about it.”

While the “Come Together” T-shirts sold off the racks in Craig, others in the community were doing their part to show their support.

A little more than a week after the attacks, the same night that President Bush went on television and told the nation “justice will be done,” a group of local teenagers held a memorial candlelight service in front of the Moffat County Courthouse.

The local teen-based group called PReVENT, which does its part to raise awareness of teen violence, orchestrated the event.

As the sun set that evening, more than 100 people gathered in front of the courthouse and were handed candles.

Sean Villard, a junior at Moffat County High School and member of PReVENT, addressed the crowd.

“We cannot focus on the past and dwell on what has occurred,” he said. “Buildings can be rebuilt and wounds will heal. We need to take this opportunity to unite. We need to send a message that they cannot break our spirit or pride.”

“God Bless America” was later played and many of those in the crowd sang along.

Later, the group lit their

candles and observed a moment of silence.

Families and friends stood with their arms draped around one another’s shoulders. Some people cried.

While the group of local teens showed their support for those who suffered after Sept. 11, a few even younger community members went above and beyond the norm in offering their support.

One morning in the days following the attacks, second grader Drew Gillespie got on the school bus lugging a 34-ounce coffee can filled with something that was considerably heavier than coffee.

When he arrived at Ridgeview Elementary School, he went up and asked his teacher, Adele Warren, if he could go to the office.

She said yes, and out he walked toting the can.

“He didn’t say anything,” Warren said. “He just told me he had something to take to the office.”

He arrived at the school

office and the secretaries kidded

him, asking if he had brought them coffee.

Ignoring their ribbing, Drew walked up to a New York Relief fund bucket for children and teachers to drop their spare change in.

Then he opened the can.

“It was just a pile load of change and dollar bills,” said Cindy Vorhies, the library technician at Ridgeview Elementary School, who was in the office. “It was pretty amazing.”

Drew then informed those in the office that the money was for the New York Relief fund bucket.

“And we thought he was bringing us coffee,” Vorhies said later. “He was just darling.”

After he dumped the money, which came from a savings jar he and his brother kept at home, Drew returned to his classroom not telling anyone about what he did.

Later in the day, Vorhies said she talked to Drew’s teacher, Mrs. Warren.

“He hadn’t even told his teacher or any of his classmates,” Vorhies said. “It was just for him. Something that he wanted to do.”

Later Drew summed up his gesture, which amounted to more than $100, the same way.

“I saw it on TV and I just wanted to help,” he said.

Chris Copeland, who was a third grader at Sunset Elementary at the time of the terrorist attacks, watched the aftermath of the event on the news with his family.

When he saw how many people were affected, he decided he wanted to do something to help, and decided he wanted to do a little something extra.

Copeland went door-to-door selling merchandise from the Town Square Catalog, a magazine that sells home decorations.

He sold $1,000 worth of merchandise, $500 of which was donated to the Kiwanis International Foundation 911 Victim’s Children’s Fund.

“I was watching T.V. and saw everything they were bombing,” he said. “I decided I was going to do something myself.”

Despite having many doors closed in his face due to people skeptical

of his intentions, Copeland persevered with his fund drive, going to houses from one end of town to the other.

“For the most part he did all the footwork,” said his mother, Cathy Copeland. “He went from the cemetery to Ridgeview Elementary School. He got disappointed a couple of times, but he kept going. I finally had to make him stop after 10 days so we could get the order out.”

His father, Clay Copeland, admitted to being skeptical of his son’s plans when he first started his mission.

“I hated to see him set out on something that would be a disappointment, but the community responded well,” he said. “He had a vision. For a person of his age to have that goal and for the community to back him up like it did was a good thing.”

Despite being 3,000 miles away from the locations in which the terrorist attacks occurred, Craig residents

showed their support in many


When Bonfils blood drive was set up at The Center of Craig, volunteers said people waited for 45 minutes

to donate.

Midway through the day, Maxine Updike, a hospital volunteer working the drive, said they had to start turning people away.

Judy Dilldine, one of the donors who stuck it out in the lobby, said waiting to give blood was the least she could do.

“I’ve been wanting to give blood since it happened,” she said. “This is one small way a person can contribute.”

Whether it was donating blood, money or their time, Craig residents demonstrated how much they care, said Amy Schram, reflecting back to last year and the thousands of T-shirts she and Leier had to make.

“Everybody wanted to do something to help whether it was buying a T-shirt, donating money or just hanging a flag,” she said.

“Craig definitely showed that it cared and still cares. You still see flags hanging around town and people wearing the shirts.”

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