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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Community rallies to help URI cook’s helper burned out of home

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. --December 20, 2005 -- Susan Pelletier, a cook’s helper at the University of Rhode Island, lost everything in a Dec. 11 fire that gutted a historic Wakefield home.

Pelletier lived in one of three apartments in the home with two of her three children. All of the tenants at home on the day of the fire escaped safely.

While she and her children stay with relatives in the area, members of the University of Rhode Island and local communities are pitching in to help.

“A lot is being done including a fund-drive and collections of household necessities,” said Michael McCullough, associate administrator of URI Dining Services.

“Local 528 of Council 94 has donated $500, and we have set up collection sites in the Ram’s Den, Butterfield Dining Hall and Roger Williams Dining Hall for donations of clothing and small appliances. Her co-workers are also hoping to donate their sick leave and vacation to a pool that she can draw on during this period.”

Sharon Valliere, URI food service administrator and Pelletier’s supervisor, said Pelletier has worked at URI Dining Services for about six years. “She is a great worker, and she always goes that extra mile. She is a very creative worker. She adds all these special touches around the holidays.

“People are really helping out, but I am not surprised because I’ve learned that most people are generous and helpful when these things happen. I am especially proud of what is happening here at URI.”

To learn how you can help, please call Valliere at 874-9408. In addition, Pelletier’s daughter Nicole, a student at the Community College of Rhode Island, has set up a fund at Citizens Bank for those who want to help her family.

Anyone wishing to donate should make checks payable to RCSP Fund, Citizens Bank, 10 Woodruff Ave., Narragansett, R.I. 02882.