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A little love comes out of the ashes
Dana Craighead and Pilar Hemingway share a lot.
The two 11-year-olds have spent quite a bit of time together since they were in first grade — they are now in sixth. They also spend important holidays such as Halloween together.
And being born three days apart, they nearly share the same birthday.
They also share a fondness for The 122, which burned to the ground on July 9. The flames destroyed a business run by islanders Kim Raymond and Chris Ortiz, and suddenly took away the jobs of their staff.
The two girls have frequented the restaurant since its original Winslow Way address on the east side of Madison Avenue, before it changed locations.
“All the food there was really good,” Dana said. “We went there a lot.”
“One week we went there three times,” she added.
“We had a lot of friends there and we developed friends there,” Pilar said. “The 122 was our hangout.”
It was a hangout for both girls’ families. In fact, Pilar’s family stopped in at The 122 on their way home from a trip the night before the fire.
When news reached the girls that their cherished restaurant was gone, they wanted to do something for their 122 friends. It didn’t take long to get a plan in action.
Dana had been pondering an idea of making bracelets for a charity ever since the two girls got gift certificates to Beads of Bainbridge in Winslow for their birthdays. With the 122 tragedy on Winslow Way, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something good with them.
The girls went to the beads store and spoke with store manager Amy Margaret Kapphan.
“The girls had an idea they came to me with some questions,” Kapphan said. “It went from an idea to picking out a design.”
They chose a red-and-black theme, the colors of The 122. A 122-stamped charm hangs next to a bead with the word “love” on it.
Kapphan agreed to sell the bracelets at the store. With a design in mind the girls went home to get started.
“The girls had a sleepover that night and sat on Dana’s bed and made the first 20 bracelets,” said SueEllen VanDuyne, Dana’s mom.
To help get the word out, they made a Facebook page for the bracelets — a marketing move that served them well.
“They made the Facebook page at midnight and when I opened up at 10, I had four people coming in to get their bracelets,” Kapphan said.
Within two days after The 122 was destroyed, the girls had organized a charity for the owners and staff, and were already raising funds.
At this point the girls encountered a problem. After dropping off the first 20 bracelets at the bead store, they quickly found it wasn’t enough. The bracelets sold out within the day.
They quickly made 14 bracelets to restock, but soon Kapphan was calling for more.
“Amy called me and said there are only two left,” Pilar said.
Pilar’s older sister Hana, a freshman at Bainbridge High School, chipped in to help fill orders when the two girls went to summer camp for a week. They returned only to find still more bracelets were needed.
The bracelets are still available at Beads of Bainbridge for $10. The funds go to Raymond and Ortiz to help the owners and staff with financial needs in the aftermath of the fire.
But they won’t be available for too long. The girls plan to carry the venture until Aug. 11, just before they have to start thinking about heading back to school.