Community steps up to help Moran family

Community steps up to help Moran family

A teary-eyed Mary Beth (Correira) Moran thanks all those in attendance at a dinner-dance fundraiser last weekend at St. Elizabeth's Church Auditorium, while her husband, Toby, looks on. Photo by Manuel C. Correia.

The communities of Bristol and Warren are something to write home about, especially in time of need and crisis. The folks in these townships are indeed a special breed. They are always willing to give at the drop of a hat. Businesses and individuals alike have always answered the cry.

In recent months, my family has been faced with a serious health issue. My son-in-law, Toby Moran, 38, who has lived in Warren since 2007 and is a volunteer coach in the Warren Youth Soccer Association, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma. After chemo treatments, Toby has responded nicely. Fact is, his latest scan revealed that is now cancer-free! However, during this six-month period, he has been unable to work, shifting the family’s income responsibility solely onto the shoulders of his wife (my daughter), Mary Beth Correira-Moran.

Being his primary caregiver, in addition to working part-time, completing her Master’s in Special Education, and raising three small children, Mary Beth is now faced with the greatest challenge of her life. Medical bills and household expenses have mounted. The family has already had three successful fundraisers, the most recent a dinner-dance at St. Elizabeth’s Church Auditorium. This brings me to my point.

Fundraisers are a wonderful outlet for those in need of financial assistance. People have unselfishly responded to the call for those who need help. Last weekend, I again saw how residents come together for a common cause.

Mary Beth was raised in Bristol, and graduated from Mt. Hope High School in 1997, so she understands the workings and ideals of a small town like Bristol. She has seen how its residents have rescued many of their own from financial chaos simply by getting together and doing whatever it takes to help make life easier for those less fortunate.

Last Saturday night, led by Bristol Senior Center Executive Director Maria Ursini and a committee of about a dozen people (further bolstered by many other volunteers), Toby and Mary Beth sat back and watched in amazement as these people went through their paces cooking up a sumptuous macaroni and meatball dinner, conducting raffle drawings, and holding an auction (under the direction of former Kickemuit Middle School principal Michael Carbone). Entertainment was provided by my old friend, Doug Botelho. This was neighbor helping neighbor in its most meaningful form.

In addition to Ms. Ursini, this fantastic group of people, made up mostly of parishioners from St. Elizabeth’s Church, included Jennifer Mancieri, Rosemary and Ed Oliveira, Ann Primiano, Mary-Jane Kaiser, John and Liz Cordeiro, Carlos Medeiros, Bunny Correira, Matt and Deb Rielly, Olivia Germano, and Ann Branco.

Getting a suitable venue for a large crowd posed an initial concern, but in the end, I was able to secure St. Elizabeth’s Church Auditorium, thanks to Father Richard A. Narciso, who was most gracious and accommodating.

In the end, with her eyes welled with tears, my daughter expressed her own genuine feelings.

“I keep trying to find just the right words to express how deeply grateful Toby and I are for the outpouring of love, support and generosity we received tonight,” she said. “Thank you just doesn’t seem sufficient. We truly appreciate all the time and hard work so many people put into making this night successful for our family. We are beyond blessed to have our lives touched by so many fantastic family, friends and community members. You are all angels making miracles happen for our family.”

Manuel C. “Manny” Correira