Giving Back After a Tragedy

November 17, 2015

Donnas re photo 93 KB webThe work of the Widows, Orphans, & Disabled Firemen’s Fund is a personal matter for some of our sponsors, like Re/Max Olson Realtor Donna Marks. When her firefighter brother Brian Lee died in a tragic, off-duty, small plane accident, Donna was introduced to charity, as well as a wide-ranging and supportive group of people who rallied to assist her family during a painful time. Because of these experiences, Donna became a sponsor of the LAFD Invitational and looks forward to being involved in future fundraisers. She knows all too well how important this extra assistance is for LAFD families.

While Brian died off-duty, it didn’t change the support the family received from the firefighter community in the L.A. area. They were given assistance with everything from coordinating the funeral to trauma therapy. Two chaplains worked with the family on the funeral.

“It was nice to be able to spend the time with our family while grieving without having to think about planning the funeral. We didn’t have to do that. We could be with one another. We could be with his kids. We could be with his family,” Donna said. “The day after my brother died my grandmother had a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. About four days later, my dad goes to visit my grandmother in the hospital and one of the Chaplains was sitting with my grandmother with his wife, on his day off. It was totally above and beyond anything we had ever imagined.”

r40After experiencing all of this, Donna felt a desire to give back to the community that had embraced her brother and family. “How do you give back or say thank you for something like this?” Donna said. “Then I heard about the golf tournament! It was a great day. I felt honored to be one of the sponsors. It was neat to have my signs up there and see every one read ‘In Memory of Brian Lee.’ It felt good to be able to do that and I hope to be able to do more of that sort of thing along with my family. We’re all just overwhelmed by how much support and love we were given by so many people.”

Now that she’s part of the organization as a sponsor in addition to the family member of a deceased firefighter, she wants to encourage others to donate money and time as well. “If sponsors could see where this money goes, I think they would feel so good about being a sponsor,” she said.

Donna Marks is a Realtor with Re/Max Olson & Associates. She’s based out of Westlake Village, California and has worked as a Realtor for more than 20 years. Find out more about Donna and Re/Max Olson here.

By Janelle Asselin

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