Fundraiser for ‘Lexy’ memorial a huge success
JAMESTOWN — A south county resident’s plan to create a memorial at Dow Park in honor of Alexis “Lexy” Hughan are quickly coming to fruition.
Last week, Melissa Paterniti told Jamestown City Council members that the cost of the bench and picnic table for the memorial project was estimated to be over $2,500. Paterniti shared her plans to host a fundraising event, which took place Saturday at the YWCA Lake Lodge in Lakewood. Paterniti’s goal was to raise about $3,000 at the event.
This week, Paterniti shared the success of the fundraiser during public comments at Monday’s City Council voting session.
“First of all, I just would like to say thank you to the community,” she said. “A beautiful donation was given by the Kendall Club, and we were able to raise with donations $5,072.”
Paterniti thanked community members and city officials for attending her fundraising event. She noted that Councilman Andrew Faulkner, R-Ward VI, Councilwoman Kim Ecklund, R-At Large, and Councilman Brent Sheldon, R-Ward I, attended the event and that those who could not be at the event reached out to her to share their support.
“I just want to say to the community,” she said. “It was a beautiful day.”
In addition to the fundraising success of the event, Paterniti explained that the event provided her with an opportunity to meet people that she didn’t know in the community, who demonstrated their support for the memorial project. Paterniti shared that she was able to meet both family members and friends of Hughan’s parents, Sara Rafaloski and Jeffrey Hughan.
Paterniti said the event would not have been successful without the help and support of people in the community. She added that the donations from the community exceeded expectations.
“I ended up with 80 baskets, and 60 of them were donations,” she said. “If that doesn’t tell you how much the community is coming together for this, I don’t know what does.”
Paterniti told City Council members that she met with Dan Stone following the fundraising event to continue the next step in the process of the park memorial project. According to Paterniti, the down payment for the memorial’s bench has already been paid for.
“That will be ordered now and the picnic table will be ordered and have a plaque or some sort of thing sponsored by the Kendall Club,” she said. “From this point on, we’re going to wait for the benches to come in. The city will put them in. They will be cemented into the park.”
Once the bench and picnic table are installed in the park, Paterniti said the next step will be to determine how to use the remaining money that has been raised for the memorial project. While not enough to provide the park with musical instruments like Paterniti would like, she explained there is still a “nice chunk of change” that can be used for the memorial.
“I will always keep people in the loop and make sure that the people know what’s going on,” she said.
Hughan was killed in a tractor-trailer accident in December 2021. Throughout the process of raising money and planning a memorial in Hughan’s honor, Paterniti has emphasized the importance of creating a spot to both honor Hughan and provide a place for the community to “heal” from the tragedy.