Berlin area pulls together to help two families
Liberty Paradis, 8, and Bryanna Harris, 9, sell memorial bracelets for the families of Heather Laflamme and Seth Jones during Berlin's sidewalk sales days. (SARA YOUNG-KNOX PHOTO)
The two were in a July 4 car accident on Martha's Vineyard that eventually claimed both their lives. Heather Laflamme, 21, daughter of Dicky and Paulette Laflamme of Berlin, died July 7. Seth Jones, 26, son of Tom and Peggy Jones of Dummer, died July 17.
Tom Jones, 51, who was driving the family Jeep when the vehicle was struck, works as a fuel delivery driver for Munce's, where Kim Harris has worked in the office. She is now a co-owner of Gill's Flower and Candy Shop on Main Street in Berlin. Last week, as part of the yearly downtown sidewalk sales, the shop sold single roses for a dollar, with the proceeds going to the families of the accident victims. Both days they sold out, raising $1,500.
“It's times like this you realize the benefits of a small community,” Harris said.
Her daughter, 9-year-old Bryanna Harris, and Liberty Paradis, 8, were selling white and pink memorial bracelets and taking donations for the families Thursday at a table set up on the sidewalk.
Jeep making U-turn
Dummer resident Lori Lacasse, Gill's Flower arranger and grandmother of Liberty, lives just down the road from the Jones family; three of her children grew up with three of the four Jones' children.
She said the vehicle Tom Jones was driving was new, that the Jones' had bought it just a few weeks ago. The steering wheel, she explained, was on the right-hand side because Peggy Jones is a rural delivery carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. Lacasse said that although the Jeep was new, the vehicle it replaced also had the steering wheel on the right.
Authorities report that Tom Jones was apparently making a U-turn, having pulled over to the road's shoulder. The Jeep was hit by a 2009 Volkswagen SUV driven by a Massachusetts man.
Peggy Jones, who was injured in the accident, was recently released from the hospital.
Funds from the annual ham and bean supper in Milan that usually support Milan Old Home Days, are going to the Jones family; Peggy Jones usually spearheads the supper. Memorial T-shirts, are for sale in several locations in the Androscoggin Valley, as are the bracelets.
A recent car wash benefit for the Jones and Laflamme families raised over $3,000, according to Tanya Rosenberg, a longtime friend of Seth Jones, with a spaghetti dinner at Fagin's Pub in Berlin bringing in nearly as much.
A 'big teddy bear'
Seth Jones followed his father into military service, serving as a Marine during two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. His father was deployed to Iraq with the New Hampshire National Guard in 2004-2005. Seth Jones served with the Marines from 2004 to 2011.
He had recently moved to southern New Hampshire to work as a welder at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Heather Laflamme, Rosenberg said, “was a very, very smart girl,” who also had time for fun. She had just made the dean's list at UNH, where she was majoring in recreational management policy, and was completing a summer internship at Mountain View Grand in Whitefield.
Sean Lamontagne, a friend of Seth Jones and owner of Fagin's Pub, said that Laflamme was very outgoing and friendly, and that the couple had been together about a year.
Rosenberg said that when Jones got out of the Marines, he was still the same old Seth, “a big teddy bear” who liked to have fun, and who cared a lot for family and friends.
Besides his parents, he leaves three younger brothers, Joshua, Jacob and Alex.
Donations for the families can be dropped off at Fagin's Pub, at 777 Main St., Berlin, NH 03570.
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