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Fundraising centralized to aid Rowan’s memory

STRUTHERS — In the days after the Sept. 21 death of 4-year-old Rowan Sweeney, community members began offering emotional and monetary support to his family.

As fundraising efforts kicked into high drive, some people began to wonder which efforts were legitimate.

Appointed by Rowan’s family, Vicki Dugan, a family member, has been organizing the various opportunities and channeling the money to Huntington Bank.

Money generated will go toward the Rowan Sweeney Memorial Park, with an undetermined location for the park.

“This is going to be a safe place for people to bring their children or grandchildren to go play and have a great time,” Bailey Williamson, Rowan’s future stepmother, said .

The first monetary goal for the park is $200,000, but that number could increase, Dugan said.

There is also a GoFundMe account and an upcoming motorcycle run in May, Dugan said.

To help people wanting to donate to the park, Williamson and David Sweeney, Rowan’s father, said visiting www.rowansmemorialpark.com will help keep people properly informed of where intended money is going and which kinds of fundraisers are ongoing.

Dugan said she’s met with various fundraising organizers, and she’s keeping track with spreadsheets and communication.

Those various efforts will wrap up Oct. 31, with the centralized fundraising kicking off with a spaghetti dinner Nov. 1 at The Embassy, Dugan said.

Dugan said between fundraising events for the park, people can go to Huntington Bank and donate toward the Rowan Memorial Fund, also for the park.

Local businesses and community members have reached out to Dugan, expressing that they would like to donate time and material toward the park when the time comes, she said.

“The community support was so wonderful,” Dugan said.

That outpouring of support has been appreciated by Sweeney and Williamson.

“We’re so grateful,” both Sweeney and Williamson said in unison, with Williamson adding: “We really appreciate all the support and how the community has come together for Rowan’s sake.”

“The fact we know we can lean on them, it’s like a warm hand. It’s amazing,” Sweeney said.

Those interested in tickets for the Rowan Brandon Sweeney pasta and meatball dinner can contact Dugan at 330-550-4210, Rachel Boyer at 330-550-1771 or by visiting the website.

Tickets are $15 per dinner, which is take-out from noon to 7 p.m. People will enter through The Embassy main doors, going through the raffle areas and exiting out the side with their meals.

Masks must be work and social distancing will be observed.

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