Community members have probably noticed red bows tied up throughout Wading River and Shoreham. These bows were made by two local women who wanted to honor the memory of Andrew McMorris, the 12-year-old boy who was killed by a drunk driver following a crash September 30.
The McMorris family issued a statement after their son died after being struck by Thomas Murphy, who was allegedly driving drunk after playing golf. The accident occurred while Andrew was hiking with his Boy Scout troop. The family asked people not to put memorials up at the site of the tragic accident, but instead if they felt the need to do something in his memory, to put a red ribbon on their property.
Jacqueline Cintorino and Courtney Monz of Shoreham donated their time to making nearly 500 red bows.
“I called my girlfriend [Ms. Monz] and said, ‘I’m going to make some red bows for mailboxes,’ and I got a roll of ribbon, and I said, ‘what if we do a fundraiser?’ ” Ms. Cintorino said.
Ms. Cintorino had 19 rolls of red ribbon donated by the distributor she uses for her company, Roots Flowers and Treasures in Port Jefferson.
As of Monday, they have raised about $2,600 that was presented to the Wildcats Helping Arts and Music, a fundraising group that supports arts programs in Shoreham-Wading River schools. This group was chosen by request from Alisa McMorris, Andrew’s mother. She is on the board of WHAM and her son was heavily involved in the arts.
“The red bows not only honor andrew but it’s a reminder to all of us that there are some people in this world who can make a huge difference,” Stacey Tingo, WHAM president, said. “Every time I see a red ribbon, it’s a reflection of the strength and cohesiveness of the community and the compassion that everybody has for the McMorris family.”
The donations will be used in part for scholarships, and one will be named after Andrew.
Ms. Cintorino’s son, Torre, had been close friends with Andrew for about four years and was involved in the same activities. Both boys were involved in drama productions within the Shoreham-Wading River school district. Andrew played the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz in fifth grade, and also took part in the middle school’s production of Urinetown, she said.
“The community is unbelievable,” Ms. Cintorino said. “The [McMorris] family are the most community-focused parents that I’ve known ever. There’s not a thing we do that we do in the community or in the school district that his mom, Alisa, is not involved with.”
It took them about a week to make all the bows. Some were donated to the schools in the district and many were hung up on the high school track field where Andrew was supposed to have his first track meet the day after he died, according to Ms. Cintorino.
The bows were sold for $10 each with many people coming to Ms. Cintorino’s house to pick them up. The Bagel Lady of Shoreham was also a pickup location Sunday, Oct. 7. Donations are still ongoing at The Bagel Lady for those who wish to donate to WHAM in Andrew’s memory.
Photo caption: Red bows in Wading River. (Cyndi Murray photo)