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August 22, 2013

Family is raising money for 'Colin's Smile'

Loss of son has brought grief and inspiration to couple

(Continued)

Colin’s Smile is their walk team’s name. They are raising money for the Out of Darkness Community Walk on Sept. 7 in Utica/Rome. They will also hold a Chinese auction and bake sale from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 24 at the Richfield Springs Community Center. Proceeds from both events will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The Heckmanns have two other children, Monique and Derek, who both graduated from RSCS in 2008. Monique, 22, has been organizing the fundraiser. They tout a speaker who’s words have helped them named Jeff Yaldon. Yaldon has posted a tribute video on YouTube called “We Miss U Colin Richfield Springs.”

In the comment section on YouTube, Yaldon said he appreciated the family’s willingness to help others.

“I am saddened but comforted in knowing that although Colin’s family is strong and going through the grieving process, they want to give back. I’m glad I was able to share some words of inspiration,” he said.

The family would love to have Yaldon speak in the community. Although they have some hard feelings toward the school for getting quiet on them, and for a difficult sports banquet, they have high praise for the community support they have received. Although Dirk is from Germany and Lisa is from Michigan, they have lived in the area since the 1990’s and Dirk has worked in Cooperstown most of that time, originally with the Busch family.

“Both Cooperstown and our community have been great to us,” he said.

With school starting, it is hard for many not to think about what would have been Colin’s senior year and the Richfield Springs class of 2014 which will miss his presence at graduation. The anniversary will be here soon, and that will bring its own grief and memories. The Heckmanns say they want to raise $1,000 for each charity event, and that they are nearing their goals already.

“The community has been wonderful, friends, family, everybody,” Lisa said. “We have almost reached our goals.”

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