Last Saturday I posted an article on Exploring Lincoln letting you know about a need that had come to my attention. Danielle Tozier, a young woman from Enfield who attends PVHS, lost her home to a fire a couple days earlier. Danielle is an aspiring photographer, but lost her camera along with all her other possessions to the flames. Losing your home and possessions is a tough blow, and one that is not easily remedied. But the thought struck me that maybe I and some of the followers of Exploring Lincoln could ease the loss by chipping in and replacing her camera. So I setup a PayPal donation button, posted the story, and then waited to see what would happen.
One thing I neglected to do before starting all this was ask what kind of camera Danielle lost. I knew it was a Nikon, but never actually checked the model. I’m actually kind of glad that I didn’t, because if I had I probably wouldn’t have started the fundraiser. I decided to ask her the specifics about what she lost a couple days later, and found out it was a Nikon D7000, which is a very nice camera. I had assumed it was something like a model D3100, which can be bought for $600 or so. That’s a good chunk of change, but I figured that with 1700 fans on the Facebook page and a couple weeks of promoting it we could get close to that amount. But when I heard about the D7000 I started to get nervous. That camera is better than the one I use for my pictures, and costs $1500. I started having those thoughts like “What do I do if we come up $1000 short?” The only thing worse than losing all your stuff in a fire is have someone tell you that they are going to replace something dear to you that you lost, and then not be able to follow through.
But then you guys stepped in and amazed me with your generosity. I got an email notification every time someone donated via PayPal, and the notifications just kept coming. Not only did we manage to raise enough to replace the exact model she lost, but it happened in 5 days. I didn’t even have to beg – I just posted a link to the article with an update once or twice a day, and you all responded beyond anything I anticipated. I had to turn off the donation button so that you didn’t give more than we needed, and even then people continued to ask me after I disabled the link if they could help. I still am shaking my head at the response.
The other difficulty I ran into was actually finding a replacement. When I started shopping for a D7000 I found out that no one had them. All the online retailers that sell them – Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama, BestBuy – were sold out. I talked to Bangor Photo (I had hoped they would donate some equipment, or at least give a discount, but that was a no go), and they told me that they had customers who had put deposits on a D7000 over 3 months ago, but they couldn’t get any in. The tsunami in Japan interrupted the supply chain, so everyone was sold out. Once I heard that the cold sweats started to come back. But then I stopped in BestBuy in Bangor. According to their website they were sold out, but they did have a display model left. Normally I wouldn’t touch a display because of all the handling it gets, but because this was an expensive camera they had it locked behind glass. That meant that it was in pristine condition, because only serious buyers would make the effort to check it out. When I asked they refused to sell it, because they were expecting to get more in some day. But I told them about Danielle, and the circumstances, and the community’s response, so they agreed to let me buy it. The manager even agreed (after a little persistence) to let me use a coupon that the system didn’t want to accept to knock the price down a little lower. Thanks a ton to BestBuy for coming through.
So last night before the PVHS game I had the pleasure of giving Danielle her new camera. I got to meet her father as well, and they are both so appreciative of all you guys did to make this happen. If you you have any doubts, just check the look on her face in the photo above. I made her promise to share some photos with us once she gets back to taking pictures, and I will be sure to share them when she does. And please know that I am sincerely blessed by all of your generosity and support in this. You have made all the time I spend taking photos and working on the site worth while. — Steve