When people in Ellington heard that Marine Cpl. Greg Caron had been injured in Afghanistan, they rallied.
Immediately, messages started popping up on Facebook with love and support for the 2004 graduate.
The 25-year old lost both legs, a finger, took shrapnel to his body, and broke his collarbone from an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion.
After the outpouring of love and support, the next question was, “What can I do to help?”
Several plans are still in the works and several people are still working hard behind the scenes but one person who is helping is fellow Ellington grad Ashley Gioia.
Gioia has a part-time cupcake business, Ciao Bella: Cupcakes by Ashley, and she will be making “Cupcakes for a Cause.”
For $15, people will receive a dozen cupcakes in either chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Greg Caron Foundation.
Gioia also organized a .
“I haven’t kept in touch with Greg or his family since after I graduated, but knew him and his family since I was little through Rec. Department activities and school,” she said. “I want to get involved because something like this hits so close to home. Greg and his family are all so caring and I know they would do the same if it was another family.”
Fellow Ellington graduate Matt Jenkins was in the same class as Caron's older brother and is putting together a video that is a , read by people from Ellington.
Jessica Poulin went to school with Caron and said that he is serving with a former boyfriend of hers.
“I just have a special spot in my heart for all Marines, especially one from our hometown,” she said. “When I heard about what happened, it upset me a lot. I know a lot of the Marines in his company and am close with all of their wives or girlfriends. It is all too easy to get lost in your own life and not remember how much these guys are sacrificing for us. This was definitely a wake up call for a lot of people and reminder of what these Marines are risking for our safety.”
Poulin met with some other Ellington women on Tuesday night to plan some events and fundraisers. Nothing is set in stone yet, but there are some ideas. Poulin will be meeting with the administration at Ellington High School on Thursday to discuss some options.
“I just thought that doing some sort of benefit through the school would be the best way to go and would be something that I could do, being from this town,” she said. “We all agreed that doing something sports related would be best because of his connection with sports in high-school. He was big into soccer but we knew that's not something we could do this time of year so we decided basketball would be best. We are thinking of setting up a tournament, teams can form themselves and register for a fee ahead of time. There will be an admission price and more activities going on in the cafeteria during the games. Those activities would include bingo, a bake sale, raffles, etc.”
Her meeting on Tuesday night had a profound impact on Poulin.
“I’ll tell you though, after meeting some of his close friends and hearing out him and what happened, it’s made me want to do as much as I can for him and his wife,” she said. “I heard he will be in Maryland for awhile recovering and (his wife) Nina will need to get an apartment down there to stay with him.”
She said that a friend spoke to Nina, and she told a story of a phone call with Caron.
“She asked Greg over the phone what she should pack for him, and he replied, ‘Well you wont need to pack me socks,’ and he went on to say how he will be walking by the time he gets home,” Poulin said. “It just shows how great of an attitude he has about it all and is in good spirits.”
Caron will need a sense of humor and the support of his family and friends to get through the tough times.
If you wish to make a donation or send cards, a P.O. Box has been set up. The address is: The Greg Caron Family Fund, P.O. Box 262, Ellington, CT 06029. Checks can be made payable to the Greg Caron Family Fund.
A PayPal account is also being set up that will go directly into an account at Rockville Bank.