Community raises funds for fallen firefighter's family
CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) -- Community members came together Saturday to support the family of fallen firefighter Richard Gemma.
"It's something we never expected," said his mother, Kathy Gemma. "And we're just amazed by it all, actually."
Gemma died at age 45 in an August motorcycle accident.
On Saturday friends organized a fundraiser at The Joint Bar and Grill in Cranston to support his family -- including his three children.
"It's overwhelming to know that my brother had so many beloved family and friends and everything else," said brother Lou Gemma. "It makes losing him so much easier. You never get over it, but you learn to live with it."
"He touched everybody's heart," said friend and organizer Chris Campagone. "These people are coming out to support us and just donate their time."
And they donated carloads of gift baskets to be raffled.
"He's going to be greatly missed by not only the family, but by everyone," said his father, Richard Gemma Sr. "And the outpouring of support really shows that."
One community member, Kevin Lamorge of Cranston, even bringing vintage fire vehicles.
"We take care of each other," said Lamorge. "Somebody that's a brother firefighter, or a police officer, or a first responder, we do what we can to help out their family."
The family says they will continue Richard's tradition of "adopting" a family for Christmas, providing food and gifts.
They feel it's keeping his spirit alive.
"Treating everyone like family," said daughter Gianna Gemma. "And being there for one another."
"It's important that we keep the good going," said Kathy Gemma.
Gemma served as a firefighter in Johnston for six years.