Skyline holds vigil for victims

Skyline holds vigil for victims

By David Evans/The Skyline View

Students, educators, and local residents gathered at Skyline Col­lege on Sept. 23 to hold a vigil and raise funds for those affected by the San Bruno gas line explosion.

According to ASSC, more than $1800 was collected for the Glen­view Fire Recovery Fund (GFRF).

It was an amazing event,” said ASSC President Ray Parenti-Kurt­tila. “Yesterday’s attendance is proof that we live in an extraordinarily supportive community.”

Parenti-Kurttila said that the fundraiser was organized in a group effort between ASSC, Academic Senate, faculty and other Skyline College organizations. In addition to raising money for affected resi­dents, the event also served to show Skyline’s support for the surround­ing community.

An estimated 50-60 people at­tended the event, including Skyline President Victoria Morrow, San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane and Board of Trustees member Dave Man­delkern. Morrow, Ruane and Man­delkern spoke to to the crowd about issues surrounding the fire and the subsequent recovery efforts.

Sisters Priscilla and Andrea Tovar, who lost their family home in the explosion, also addressed the attendees. Both spoke about how the catastrophe affected their lives and about the kind of support they have been receiving from the com­munity.

I appreciate it,” said Andrea Tovar, speaking about the fundraiser. “I’m very prideful of our school and community.”

I think it’s a good thing,” said Priscilla Tovar about the vigil.

Although it was an emotional event for the sisters, they said they valued being able to talk to the com­munity about their family’s ordeal.

It’s better to talk about it than to keep it balled up inside,” Priscilla Tovar said.

Andrea and Priscilla were in their home with their children at the time of the explosion. While their house was completely destroyed, all of the family members were safely evacuated to safety in time, includ­ing their dog.

While Andrea Tovar said she wanted to rebuild and move back to their house one day, her sister was indecisive about returning.

Priscilla Tovar does feel strong emotional ties to the home because she grew up in that house but part of her just wants to move on and continue her life elsewhere.

The majority of those running the vigil were student volunteers. Math professor Vanson Nguyen had his Math 110 class help set up the event.

I felt sorry for the victims,” said John Bucog, one of Nguyen’s stu­dents and a volunteer at the vigil. “I felt that volunteering would help.”

I had a dream that it was my place that burned down,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen said the fire had a ma­jor impact on him as well as his students.

That could have been me,” Nguyen said.