East Boston’s elected officials are joining together to host a fundraiser for the children of the woman killed New Year’s Eve day on the Meridian Street Bridge.
Representative Carlo Basile, Senator Anthony Petruccelli and City Councilor Sal LaMattina will be sponsoring a fundraiser to Help the Garcia Kids, in memory of Aura Garcia. The proceeds will help establish a trust for her two young children to cover any current and long term needs.
The event will be held on Thursday January 23 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Kelly’s Square Pub, 84 Bennington Street, East Boston. Checks can be made out to Help the Garcia Kids.
“This was a terrible tragedy and we want to let the Garcia family know that the East Boston community is here for them and will do anything to help,” said Basile.
Aura Garcia was crushed to death when she tried to make her way across the bridge on foot from Eastie to Chelsea. The bridge operator, Louis Alfieri Jr., was in the process of opening the drawbridge to allow a boat to go by along the Chelsea Creek. Alfieri lowered the bridge after hearing Garcia’s screams for help. Authorities investigating the incident believe she was in a blind spot and Alfieri could not see her location.
“Our community always comes together in times of tragedy,” said Petruccelli. “I’m glad to lend a helping hand and start to process of healing for the Garcia family as they are faced with this difficult time.”
Eastie residents have already set up an online fundraising campaign assist Garcia’s 16-year-old daughter, Nancy, and 4-year-old son, Daniel with food, clothing and other basic essentials. Eagle Hill resident and Eagle Hill Civic Association member Blythe Berents started the campaign. That campaign, which can be found at www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-the-garcia-kids, has already raised over $6,000.
“I’m happy to participate in this fundraiser, which brings out the best in East Boston, and I hope that the outpouring of support will help the Garcia family in this time of grief and sadness,” said LaMattina.
In addition to funds, the Garcia family needs services to be donated. The goal of the fundraiser will be to establish trust fund for the benefit of the children to cover current and long term funding needs.
“If these kids want to go to college some day, let’s help them achieve that goal and work with a local bank to open an trust account to receive the funds,” said Basile. “We also want to find a third party administrator/fiduciary to manage the trust for the benefit of the children.”
Basile added that at a minimum the elected official’s goal is to raise funds for immediate expenses.
“We do not know the family, but would like to work with them to determine just what the needs of the children are and the best use of funds,” he said.
Investigators are still determining what exactly went wrong on the frigid New Year’s Eve afternoon and have collected and viewed the bridge’s video surveillance cameras for clues.
Witnesses said the bridges safety equipment had been activated, alerting motorists and pedestrians that the bridge was about to be lifted. Once the bridge started to rise witnesses said they heard Garcia’s screams for help before the bridge was lowered.
Bridge operators are required to use the bridge’s safety cameras and zoom in on traffic and foot traffic at the bridges two gates on the Eastie and Chelsea side. If vehicles or pedestrians do not move after the alarm is sounded the operator is required to call the police.