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As the holidays approach, our thoughts instinctively turn toward our families and loved ones, wherever they may be. The festive season has a certain ethereal quality that enraptures us all with its wonderful magic. It brings us closer to our children and, in a sense, it allows us to relive happy days from our childhood as we reminisce on Christmases past. But for two young Irish girls this Christmas has a sadder connotation. It will be spent without their parents for the first time.
Una, 10, and Aoife, 6, Rogers were orphaned last April when the family home in Hawthorne, N.J., became engulfed in flames. The girls leaped to safety but their parents, Jim and Deborah, and their younger brother, Colm, perished in the smoky inferno. Jim and Deborah Rogers emigrated from County Louth and lived for several years in the Bainbridge and Woodlawn sections of the Bronx.
Jim founded his own construction company and became well known in the Irish community. The family settled in Hawthorne in 1994 and remained there until calamity struck in April 2000. In the aftermath of the tragedy the girls returned to Ireland to live with their aunt in County Louth.
Recent fund-raisers by the Bronx/Yonkers-based benefit committee proved to be tremendously successful. The focus is now on the Queens/Long Island-based committee to play its role in securing the young girls' future. A benefit will take place in the Yeats Tavern, 42-24 Bell Blvd., Bayside, on Sunday, Nov. 12, from 3 p. m, to 10 p.m. Please come and support this worthy cause. Your money will be used to further the girls' education, to cover medical expenses and to help the girls' new household absorb its newest members. If you are unable to attend but would like to contribute, you may do so by mailing a check, made payable to The Rogers Benefit Fund, to the Yeats Tavern at the above address. If you work for a corporation, which is predisposed to making charitable donations this time of year, please bring this case to their attention. If you are a musician or in the entertainment business and would like to donate your time to the benefit, please contact the Yeats Tavern at (718) 335-0653. All help will be greatly appreciated.
Further information on the tragedy and the benefit can be found on the World Wide Web at www.yeatstavern.com by clicking on the special dedication icon. Una and Aoife Rogers need your help. The two girls have witnessed the death of their brother and parents in heart-rending circumstances and now face the challenge of adjusting to a new environment. When we play our part in helping the Rogers sisters, we do more than help them. We help ourselves become better people.