Written by Marilou Giammona Thursday, 15 August 2013 00:00
July 26 marked the four-year anniversary of the horrific tragedy on the Taconic Parkway that claimed the lives Emma, Alyson and Katie Hance. While their loved ones’ hearts, especially their parents Jackie and Warren, remain broken, they continue to draw strength and hope from the Hance Family Foundation (HFF) and its supporters.
“Our hearts are broken, but we have learned so much in this time. This Foundation has given us hope to begin a new story and giving back with our hands has given us a new way to show how Emma, Aly, and Katie live on in our hearts,” HFF said in a notice regarding the day of Remembrance.
Supporters were asked to tie a lime green ribbon around a tree in their front yard to “serve as a reminder to cherish all the wonderful people in your lives. We urge you to do something nice for someone that day, and to remember just how quickly time passes. Be mindful that day, of all you have, and be grateful,” the notice said.
Lime green ribbon could be seen throughout Floral Park and neighboring communities on Long Island and Queens, as far south as Disney World in Florida, and as far west as Palo Alto, Ca. Local supporters were invited to pick up special "EAK" (for Emma, Alyson and Katie) ribbon from a home on Magnolia Avenue in Floral Park, while various lime green ribbon dotted landscapes throughout the country. The 15 rolls of EAK ribbon alone totaled 22,500 feet. A smattering of places where the ribbon was displayed on July 26 can be seen in a video on the HFF web site: www.hancefamilyfoundation.org.
In addition to the lime green ribbons, supporters from all over the globe posted prayers and words of encouragement and support on HFF’s Facebook page, including three personalized poems written by Liana Wendy Howarth of England.
“In what has become a small secondary tradition, a group of Beautiful Me volunteer teachers taught classes the week of July 26 at St. Ann’s in Mott Haven, Bronx, which is one of the poorest congressional districts in the country,” said HFF executive director Bernadette Smith. HFF has developed a relationship with that location over the years, according to Smith.
Also during that week, a much larger number of Beautiful Me volunteer teachers traveled to Camp Anchor in Lido Beach to deliver the program to upwards of 80 campers and roughly the same number of counselors to honor Jaime and Paige Malone and Michael Mulhall, Floral Park residents and counselors at Anchor who died in an auto accident on the Meadowbrook Parkway on their way to the camp three years ago.
“So many of the teachers agreed: ‘It was easily one of the most meaningful sessions we have had the pleasure of attending. The time of year, the participants, and the location set together for an uplifting and inspirational day,’” Smith said.
Going forward, HFF will expand its Beautiful Me program during the coming year.
“We have slated for 2,500 more girls to participate by December, and are closing in on a total of 10,000 participants since January 2010,” Smith said.
For more information about this program and HFF’s other projects, including ways to donate, please visit www.hancefamilyfoundation.org.