Cross-county connection leads to party with a purpose
Hannah Congdon lived across the county and Bill Minoia had never met her, but still their connection was too much for him to ignore.
"She touched my heart in that she was very much in touch with the plight of orphaned children," said Minoia. Minoia was recovering
from several hardships of his own, including serious health issues, when news broke on the tragic death of Hannah and her four
Fairport High School classmates.
"I was reading about Hannah and became very attached to that purpose," said Minoia, a Hamlin resident on Newco Drive. Adding to the connection,
Minoia had recently befriended Bill and Joanne Cala at a car show at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Both men own prized 1928 Model
A pickup trucks.
Bill Cala, who currently serves the City of Rochester as interim school superintendent, was Hannah's superintendent at Fairport and traveled with Hannah to India in April 2006 to help tsunami orphans.
As Minoia read more about Hannah, and learned more about his new friends' charity Joining Hearts and Hands, Ltd., it became clear to him that he had to do something. So Minoia got the idea to turn
a Newco Drive tradition into a major fundraiser in honor of the fallen Fairport teen.
Minoia and his neighbors will host a huge beach party Saturday, October 6 at 7592 Newco Drive to benefit Hannah's Hope, a project aimed at building an early childhood center for orphans in Kenya,
named in memory of Hannah Congdon. The party will include live music, door prizes, an auction, a chicken barbecue and a cash clam bar. Tickets are $20 and are available by calling Bill Minoia at
964-8405 or Joanne Cala at 377-8298. Special arrangements have been made to accommodate parking, and Minoia said he is hoping for 400 people.
Minoia said community support has been overwhelming, with several local agencies and corporate sponsors helping out in a big way. All proceeds from the party will go toward the school's construction.
"I think our community on this side of town wanted to do something in response to this tragedy," Minoia said. "Maybe this is the opportunity they were looking for."