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Nearly 300 remember Dana family; walk aids scholarship fund

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BRASHER FALLS - Nearly 300 people took part in walk around the St. Lawrence Central campus on a beautiful Saturday morning to honor the memory of five people from the Brushton and Lawrenceville area - including a staff member and her two daughters - killed in a motor vehicle accident last summer.

“I heard the number of walkers was 284, which is a wonderful turnout for the first year. I was pleasantly surprised by the numbers. We were able to remember them and help out the Dana Memorial Scholarship fund. The family set up the scholarship fund, and we are just adding to it as much as we can. Hopefully we will do the same type of thing next year, and we may even look to expand it,” Karen A. Siskavich, chair of the committee that organized the walk said.

The 2013 Dana Memorial Walk was an opportunity to remember Janet P. Dana, her daughter-in-law Laurie A. Dana, and her granddaughters Lauryn E. and Caitlyn O. Dana; and family friend Shannon Planty; who were killed in a July accident near Antwerp.

Laurie Dana, 42, was a special education/speech teacher at St. Lawrence Central Elementary School. Caitlyn, 14, was to enter the ninth grade, and Lauryn, 11, was a rising sixth grader. Janet Dana, 69, was a former teacher at Brushton-Moira Central School. Also killed was Caitlyn’s friend, Ms. Planty, 14, a student in the Brushton-Moira Central School District.

Ms. Siskavich said there was a strong turnout from both school communities for the walk. The walk was held on the school grounds, leaving from a memorial that Laurie’s husband created in front of the school, and many participants stopped for reflection at the marker that includes photographs of the three members of the St. Lawrence Central community who died in the accident.

She said the memorial has helped in the healing process for friends and co-workers of the district’s former speech teacher and her two daughters.

“A bus driver told me that a lot of the kids get off the bus and go up to the memorial before they come into the school,” Ms. Siskavich said.

The walk, which had raised over $2,200 before donations were collected Saturday, started with a moment of silence to honor the memories of those killed in the crash.

“We shared a lot of stories today remembering them. There were a few tears shed today, but there was also laughter,” she said, pointing to an event designed to celebrate the lives of the accident victims.

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