bleu salon There has been a recent outpouring of support from the community for the East Bay High School student who was attacked at Bloomingdale Library in April.
Recently, a benefit was held at the Ruskin VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), located at 5120 U.S. Hwy. 41 N. in Ruskin raising more than $17,000 of much needed funds for the student who now requires $30,000 per month in rehabilitation costs
In Valrico, Bleu Salon will open its doors on a Monday when it is typically closed and donate all funds for services to the girl’s fund. On Monday, September 29, 12 Noon-5 p.m., all haircuts, blow dry and style, mini manicures and mini pedicures, 15-minute massages and waxing will be for donations to the fund. Bleu is located at the Lithia Crossings Stein Mart anchored plaza at 3472 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. Call 651-4020 or visit
This is not the first time that Bleu Salon has given back in August of 2007 they held an event called Hairdresser Unlocking Hope. A total of $2,665 was raised for those still in need from Hurricane Katrina.
In 2005 and 2006, the salon sponsored local participants in the Susan G. Women 3 day walk for Breast Cancer and donated $3,024 (in 2006) and $2,975 (in 2005). Bleu Salon has also donated to the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO). Back in 2005, the entire salon and clients donated 800 cans of food for those in need at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
At the Ruskin event, there was food, music, and beverages. The cost was $10 per family at the door or $5 per person. Additional donations were also accepted; for a donation of $10 or more, people could sign an eight-foot banner for her.
Melanie Morrison, the executive director for the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce, who along with a small committee comprised of Denise Reiter, Shirley May, Tony Zipperer, Stacy Self and Kelly Reedy, organized the event in less than two weeks, she said. She enlisted the help of some of the girl’s friends.
The event raised a total of $20,000, with the Wal-Mart on Bloomingdale Ave. having donated $1,000 prior to the event, and the Brandon Foundation committed to donating $2,000. The night of the event, Morrison said, they raised $17,000 in cash.
“We never dreamed it would be that great,” she said. She had volunteered for the Ruskin Relay for Life in April of 2008, approximately two weeks before her attack, Morrison said. She had also volunteered the year before at the Ruskin Seafood Festival in November of 2007. “So it had extra meaning,” Morrison said.
The 18-year-old girl, who was blinded in the April attack and can’t walk or swallow, is undergoing rehabilitation in Sarasota. The girl was about to graduate from East Bay and had a full scholarship to the University of Florida. Morrison said the girl’s sister told them that the girl and her mother watched the event on television from their room.
Her care costs $30,000 a month and Medicaid recently notified the girl’s family that it would only pay for her medical care until August 15.
The girl’s 16-year-old assailant, Kendrick Morris, has been arrested and charged with kidnapping, aggravated and sexual battery. He has pled guilty and is awaiting trial in Orient Road Jail.
For more information, call Morrison at 645-3808 or send an e-mail to
For those who did not make the event, but still wish to contribute, a fund has been set-up for the teenager at SunTrust Bank. To contribute, go to any SunTrust Bank branch and request the money go to the Bloomingdale Library Assault Fund.
Other events are being planned across the community with all funds going directly to the care of the girl, whose name and identity has remained private.

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Jennifer is the Assistant Editor at the Osprey Observer, having climbed the corporate ladder from intern in 2007. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. She lives in Channing Park with her husband, Eric, and their two dogs.