FARMINGTON — A delegation from Lac-Megantic, including its mayor and its police chief, will be presented with an oversized $32,000 check Saturday at a benefit concert for the devastated Quebec town.
Farmington Selectman Ryan Morgan, who has been working with Wilton Selectman Tom Saviello to organize the event, said he is surprised and pleased about the amount of money raised to help the town recover from the disastrous July 6 train derailment.
“I’m very pleased by the amount raised by the citizens,” he said.
Farmington’s involvement in the benefit concert is part of an ongoing effort to raise money for its “sister city.” The two towns formed a partnership 22 years ago to share culture and economic growth.
The concert is scheduled for 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the University of Maine at Farmington South Dining Hall. Along with performances by eight singers and musical groups, there will be a 50-50 drawing and a silent auction, with all the proceeds going to Lac-Megantic.
Morgan said the event also will be a formal chance to thank Franklin County firefighters who responded to the train derailment and explosion that killed 47 people, displaced 2,000 others and destroyed 40 buildings in the heart of the town.
About 30 firefighters from seven Franklin County towns went to Lac-Megantic to help fight the fire that morning, and Morgan described the crews as the first ambassadors from Maine to the city after the disaster.
“They’re not the kind of people who look for accolades or any credit, but they deserve it,” he said.
For admission to the event, attendees can buy a wristband that says Lac-Megantic for $10 before the event or $15 at the door. The wristbands are being sold at Mooseville, County Seat Reality and Madore’s Market.
Along with private and business donations, local municipalities donated to the relief fund. Selectmen in Wilton and Farmington each voted to donate $500 in town money to the relief fund, and the Waterville City Council voted to donate $1,000.
The fundraising work began July 10, four days after the train derailment, when Farmington selectmen voted to open the Lac-Megantic Relief Fund at TD Bank. The relief fund grew to $10,000 within the first two weeks.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252