Hollis family plunges for fundraiser

HOLLIS – The Keefe family, of Hollis, has been taking an annual polar plunge to raise money for various causes for six years, and this year’s fundraiser will be to benefit the family of Katie Hamilton, the Brookline woman who was killed in a car accident Christmas Eve.

This year’s Mark F. Frattaroli Memorial Polar Plunge is set for noon, Feb. 15, on Newbury Street at Seabrook Beach. Ray Keefe, his wife, Lisa, and their three children hope to raise $5,000 for venturing into the cold ocean. Tanner, 22, attends Catholic University in Washington, D.C., Madie, 13, is in eighth grade at Hollis Brookline Middle School and Miles, 11, attends Hollis Upper Elementary School.

The fundraiser is named for Mark Frattaroli, a student at Lawrence Academy who died in a car accident on Sept. 29, 2008.

“We didn’t know him at all but the accident happened right down the street from the Groton School, and I thought it would be the perfect time to get the schools together. We wanted to reach out (to Lawrence students) and tell them we are part of their community. They were hurting and we felt it, too,” Ray Keefe said.

That first plunge raised money for a scholarship fund in Frattaroli’s name at Lawrence Academy. The Keefe and Frattaroli families have since become friends.

Last year’s plunge benefited Cooper Doucette, a Nashua football player who was injured during a practice and is paralyzed. The funds helped pay for his physical therapy.

This year, the Keefes chose to raise money for the Hamilton family because they knew the victim and it hit close to home.

Hamilton, a 30-year-old wife and mother of three young daughters, was almost home when her car was struck from behind and pushed into oncoming traffic, where it was hit by a Ford F250 truck. The accident occurred on Route 13 right near the Safety Complex and her father, Steve Whitcomb, a longtime volunteer firefighter, was among the first responders at the scene. The accident is under investigation.

Many in the area, including the Keefes, knew Hamilton and Whitcomb through their business, Whitcomb Plumbing and Heating.

“Steve is our plumber, and she was always with him,” Keefe said. “They are wonderful people, so when this tragedy happened, we gravitated right to them. All our hearts are broken for this family. We know how quickly they will burn through money, especially with three girls and now only one income.”

Keefe said his children enjoy the plunge, and he’s used it as a lesson for them to do what you can to help others.

Although it is usually just his immediate family braving the cold water, Keefe said he would welcome other participants who want to get pledges for taking the plunge. Contact him at 880-1437 or info@prepressplus.com or visit http://annualmarkfrattaroli

For those who prefer to stay warm and dry, donations can be sent to: Hamilton Family Fund, c/o Ray Keefe, 3 Howe Drive, Unit 2, Amherst, NH 03031 or via PayPal at lascani@
cgsnashua.org, Reference: Hamilton Family.