, Salem, MA

December 28, 2013

Letter: Community did much for family, team

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

We would like to thank all of the firefighters in Hamilton and surrounding towns who did their best to save our house and some of our belongings this past spring. Although we lost the house, because of the kind, considerate firefighters, we were able to save some photos and memorabilia. All of the firefighters fought hard to save the house and were so empathetic to our family.

We appreciate the incredible amount of support, donations, thoughts and prayers we received from our community. At a time when we felt lost, this community found the way for us. Zach and I feel so grateful that we chose to live and raise our kids here on the North Shore. So many of you opened your homes to us. You delivered meals, gift cards and held a fundraiser. Your continued support as we build our home, while living in Ipswich, means so much.

While our kids miss their home and the security it provided, they continue to feel comfort from all of you. A special thank-you to Stone Soup and Pomodori’s for the fundraiser and meals!

We were blessed to have Syracuse basketball and the NBA draft to focus on when the fire happened. Again, the community was with us. We had so much fun celebrating the games and draft process with all of you. From the draft parties you threw to the restaurants naming drinks after Michael, it was a great time. At a time when we could have been overwhelmed with the loss of our home that we built, we were enjoying the ride to Michael’s dream with all of you. Thank you for turning what felt tragic into such a wonderful time in our lives. His success would not have been so enjoyable without all of you sharing it with us.

The last 10 years coaching basketball for Ipswich High School has been so special. I appreciate the support from the high school administration, other coaches, all of the parents over the years and, most importantly, the relationships with the student-athletes. What an amazing place Ipswich High School is to coach and work. As I said to the players over the years, I don’t remember all of our wins and losses, but I do cherish the time and traditions spent with everyone.

To the local restaurants Pomos, Stephanie’s Pancake House and Stone Soup, thank you for helping us create our traditions and making team dinners part of our memories. Our teams are so fortunate to have such a generous bank in town, The Institution for Savings, that never stops giving. Ipswich High School also has the best record keeper in the state. Thank you, John Thomas, for all your hard work. Not every town has the advantage of all of the stats being consistently updated and done by someone who is the biggest fan of the players.

I have enjoyed working with so many people who are so dedicated to the student athletes. Dr. Hugh O’Flynn, I appreciate you always being there. What other town has a doctor who does gym, field and house calls? For 10 years, I have walked into gyms on the road and spotted Dave Drown waiting to cheer us on. Thank you, Dave, for being such a loyal fan. Ten years ago, Dan Follansbee sat in the stands watching us play and quickly became a part of our staff. We appreciate all the hours you spent with us doing stats and helping us coach, Dan. My best-not-so-kept-secret scout, Chip Nylen, we could not have won so many games without you. Thank you for the hours you spent scouting and your genuine support for the girls over the years. I am so appreciative of high school administration — Barry Cahill, Dave Dalton, Tom Gallagher and Micki Nylen — who gave consistent support to the girls basketball program, which translated into pride and success. We were fortunate to have The Salem News and Ipswich Chronicle follow us and write about our games. Our teams have many pictures and articles from both newspapers to save and look back on.

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to coach for a decade and blessed to have formed so many friendships. As we build our new home, I think of all the support we received over the years through the special and tough times. We can’t thank you enough.

Mandy Carter-Zegarowski and family