Novi Woman Brings Community Together to Help Family

pumpkins.jpgOn July 7, Novi, Michigan, resident Maria Dismondy saved a mother and her child from drowning, but was unable to save the child’s father. While many saw her as hero, her inability to save the father nagged at her heart. In Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program, Dismondy took action – she created a project to bring her community together to fund the child’s future education. The newspaper Hometown Life, of Novi, covered the story.

Novi hero pays it forward

by Kelly Murad

On July 7, a life was lost on Walled Lake, but two were saved.

To most, Maria Dismondy is a hero, but the 30-year-old Novi resident struggled with the loss, feeling she needed to do more for the family of the late Anthony Curtis, 38.

“I was touched by the community during the drowning and how everyone helped and consoled each other,” she said. “Before the tragic event, I knew only a handful of people on my street. I’ve lived there three years. That was sad to me.”

The feeling of disconnect, combined with Dismondy’s involvement in Landmark Education in Livonia, led to the creation of her neighborhood’s first block party – Priceless Pumpkins.

“I have been taking classes through a national organization called Landmark Education and in July I started a new course called Self Expression and Leadership,” she said. “The class teaches you to live a powerful life and one that you love in the face of anything that happens.”

Priceless Pumpkins is a neighborhood event, taking place from 2-4 pm on Sunday, October 26.

“This event is about strengthening the community in which I live in, to really see what power there is when people get together to do something good for others,” Dismondy said. “If you reach out to other people, you never know when you’re going to need them.”

About 95 homes were invited to the event, at the corner of Northhaven Street and West Lake Drive, to carve pumpkins, which will be donated to the Grand Court of Novi nursing home.

“It kind of just started as let’s get everyone together and carve pumpkins,” Dismondy said, noting it was fellow neighbor Patty Harvey’s idea to donate the pumpkins to the nearby senior housing community. “It’s to meet people, network, have friends. To have a good safe environment for family to live and a place where people look out for you.”

Local businesses donated items to the raffle, which will raise money for the Tony Roger Curtis Education Fund, Curtis’ son who was 17 months old when Dismondy rescued him from the waters of Walled Lake.

“I used to feel like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the drowning happened,” Dismondy said. “It was really hard for me to focus on the fact that I saved a mother and a child and not focus on the loss of Tony. This event has made me focus on the life that lives on in Tony Jr. and how I can help in raising money for his education fund.”

Dismondy explains Landmark Education’s pay-it-forward concept as inspiring.

“It’s opened my eyes to realize my life isn’t just about me. It’s about the people I affect,” she said.

The Novi Fire Department is attending the event and bringing goodies for the children.

Many local businesses are involved in the event, including Costco, Jimmy John’s, Dolly’s Pizza, Biggby Coffee, B&W Variety, Meijer, Task Karate, Big Boy, Giuseppe’s Italian Bakery, Great Harvest Bread and Watkins Flowers.

For more information regarding Priceless Pumpkins, contact Dismondy at mariadismondy@mac.com.

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One thought on “Novi Woman Brings Community Together to Help Family

  • August 19, 2009 at 6:09 pm
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    No one will ever know the loss that my family and I lost on July 7, 2008. Tony (Anthony) Curtis is my nephew, his child, Tony Curtis has also been lost to us, we don’t even know where he is. It is nice that the neighborhood has become closer, something good has to come from Tony’s drowning. Tony was a life long resident of the neighborhood, he was born there, his wish was to have his son be raised there too. Baby Tony will never feel his father’s hugs and kisses in this world, he will never know anything about his father as long as he is denied us.

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