Healing Hearts gala kicks off fundraising drive for Lewiston mass shooting memorial

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Mar. 29—AUBURN — About 100 supporters gathered Friday for a Healing Hearts Gala to kick-start a new OneLewiston Resilience Fund to support long-term community events to cope with the impact of the Oct. 25, 2023, mass shooting in Lewiston.

One of them was state Rep. Margaret Craven of Lewiston, who said she wanted to help the effort to create a memorial for the 18 people who died night at Schemengee's Bar and Grille Restaurant and Just-In-Time Recreation.

The $50-a-person gala at the Hilton Garden Inn featured music from the Portland Symphony Orchestra's Brass Quintet and Every Other Sunday, a Maine-based nine-piece dance band. Among the first to take to the dance floor was Craven.

Organizers hoped to raise $20,000 or more from the buffet dinner and dance for the new fund, which is expected to help cover the cost of an Oct. 25 memorial and related events.

Peering in from the hallway was Leroy Walker, an Auburn city councilor whose son was one of the slain. He didn't want to go in, but he wanted to see people coming together to help the effort.

"It's great," he said. "Our community has just been unbelievable."

Walker said he expects there will be more events to raise funds for a memorial, an endeavor he sees as worthwhile.

But they probably won't all be as elegant as the opening gala, which included many women in glittering dresses and men in suits that paled by comparison.

Silent and online auction items, including an 1880 Maine steamer trunk and a helmet signed by New England Patriots legend Julian Edelman, were donated to help with the fundraising effort. Bidding for the OneLewiston Resilience Auction, which includes Edelman's helmet, will remain open until April 29.

For more information about the new fund, see the OneLewiston website.

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