Charity Set Up After RI Fire Has Had Modest Effect
After several back-and-forth conversations with King and Jeffrey Derderian, she says, she gave up and dropped out, unable to pay.
"Supposedly there's all this money; I just don't know where it is," Pimentel says. "I think they're just doing it and they put it out there for a good name for themselves."
King says he worked hard to get Pimentel the help that she did receive.
"I think we gave to her what we said we could do," King says. "You can't make them all happy, no matter what you do, no matter how you present yourself."King says the fund that helps cover miscellaneous educational expenses has helped 22 children in all. Citing privacy concerns, King wouldn't release any beneficiaries' names or connect the AP with any of them. AP contacted several families representing more than a dozen children. Only two had received help from the charity: Pimentel and Melinda Bloomingburgh, whose son, Kevin Gage, lost his father. Bloomingburgh says she is grateful the fund paid for summer school and school supplies for her son, now 21. And while King took Kevin under his wing when he was younger, Bloomingburgh says that as he got older and things got tougher for him at school, the attention stopped. He dropped out of school at 18. At one point, she says, Jeffrey Derderian came to her house to talk about the fund and was apologetic. Bloomingburgh says she wishes the charity had helped her son get the counseling he needed to deal with his anger at his father's death and to stay in school. She says she called several times asking for help finding counselors and never got a call back. Denise Gordon's son, Brandon Crisostomi, lost his father, Alfred Crisostomi, in the fire when he was 10. Gordon says they went through tough times afterward. She says she hadn't heard of the Station Education Fund until asked about it by the AP and wishes she had known so she could have reached out for help to buy her son a computer or pay for other school expenses.
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