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Fundraiser announced for memorial scholarships in memory of deceased Shenendehowa students

CLIFTON PARK — A town-based collision repair shop has partnered with a local memorial scholarship fund on a communitywide fundraising effort.

Collision Experts owner and Shenendehowa High School graduate Rick Bowman said Monday that he is partnering with the Shenendehowa Memorial Fund and the town to raise donations for the fund’s coffers. Donations will be collected via the collision firm’s Facebook account and from a unique donation booth on the Clifton Commons at the town’s July Fourth celebration. The event in Clifton Park draws around 30,000 people.

Proceeds from Bowman’s fundraising effort will be directed to the memorial fund. The non-profit will in turn direct them to the Deanna Rivers Scholarship Fund, Deanna Rivers Foundation, Chris Stewart Scholarship Fund, St. Coleman’s Home for Autism and the recovery efforts of Matthew Hardy and Bailey Wind. Hardy and Wind were injured in a Dec. 1, 2012, crash that killed Stewart and Rivers.

“We can never understand why it happened,” Town Supervisor Philip Barrett said of the crash. “All we do is talk about them, celebrate them and continue their legacy to the young people coming after them.”

The announcement of the fundraising effort was made Monday by Bowman, Barrett and James Greg of the memorial fund. The press conference was held on the Clifton Common within yards of where Bowman will set up his booth alongside a 1973 yellow fire truck.

Bowman is offering to match up to $5,000 in donations to the memorial fund.

“I’ll match up to $2,500 for those who donate on our Facebook account and up to $2,500 at the July Fourth event here at the Commons,” he said.

As a unique draw to his booth and as a way to increase donations, Bowman will let children draw on the old yellow fire truck for a $1 donation during the event. The truck will be parked with the donation booth and a NASCAR race vehicle near the town ice arena.

“People can always donate more than $1 if they want,” Bowman said.

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