Volunteers all over our area are spending the holiday giving back in honor of Doctor King, but one group’s annual fundraiser almost didn’t happen.
The Tucker Road Ice rink in Fort Washington caught fire 2 weeks ago – and kids are not only having to find somewhere else to practice – but somewhere to hold their day of service. Thanks to another local rink, the fundraiser was a huge success.
“Tucker Road is like my first skating home,” says Joseline Pretto Simmons, who helped organize the fundraiser. “I’m always there.” But on January from my mom and she was like, don’t go to Tucker Road, it’s burning down,” says Simmons.
The damages totaled about $500,000. Investigators say it was an electrical fire and have ruled it accidental. No one was hurt, but now, the kids have nowhere to skate for at least 8 months.
“We are homeless skaters,” says Cheli Figaro, whose daughter is a member of the Figure Skating Club of Southern Maryland. “That was our home rink, that was the rink we spent most of our time at,” she says.
It was terrible timing, too, considering the Chesapeake Synchronized skaters have a competition next week. “I’m actually skating at like four different rinks, which is a lot,” says Campbell Richardson, another skater.
“We’ve been going everywhere from Arlington, Alexandria, Prince George’s County, wherever we can find the ice,” says Kim Davis, whose daughter skates on the team.
The girls are making it work, though. The real worry for the kids, was where their annual fundraiser would be held. The 8th Annual Skate for Something Great, benefitting Haiti, was supposed to be at the Tucker Road rink. “I thought the fundraiser wasn’t going to happen” says Richardson.
Fortunately for them, they weren’t the only ones giving back on this day. The Fort Dupont Ice Arena was already hosting a day of service. “The more the merrier,” says Ty Newberry, the executive director and general manager of the Fort Dupont Ice Arena. “When we heard about what happened at Tucker Road, we reached out to some people. We are excited to be able to help keep these kids on the ice.”
These skaters could easily be raising money to help rebuild their own rink, but instead, they’re shipping the proceeds off to those who really need it: Haiti.
“We want the girls to know they have to give back. They are really fortunate, this is a first world problem,” says Figaro.
The girls also made a donation to the Fort Dupont Ice Rink, which is a non-profit organization, as a thank you for hosting their fundraiser.