EVERETT — Guillermo Reyes, 16, didn’t like hearing about the fatal New Year’s Eve fire at the Bluffs apartments. He knows people in that Casino Road neighborhood, because he used to live there.
He brought it up to his mother, Maria Jimenez, a few days later. She was driving him to Archbishop Murphy High School, where he’s a sophomore.
“I have little brothers,” he said. “I just felt terrible knowing most of those little kids won’t have any toys. I just felt terrible thinking about that, how those parents would feel talking to their children, just knowing they would have to start all over.”
His mom gave him some ideas to research. Reyes then talked to Deacon Dennis Kelly, the campus minister at Archbishop Murphy.
“I asked him if we could do a project about the Bluffs apartments,” Reyes said. “He told me it would be a good idea.”
The fundraiser netted about $7,000, including contributions from private donors. Kelly and Reyes met with more than two dozen displaced families to distribute the money Jan. 24, after Sunday Mass.
Like Reyes, several of the displaced families attend Immaculate Conception in Everett.
“The response from the school community has been overwhelming and beautiful,” Kelly said.
Reyes is a quiet and humble student, one “you always see doing the right thing,” Kelly said.
Reyes is planning to become a doctor. People were happy to help him, telling him they were proud of him for organizing the fundraiser, he said.
“It gives me hope knowing that there are people who want to help others who are in need,” he said. “That’s always a good feeling.”
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; email@example.com.