Eric Brian Evans perished on September 11th in Tower Two of the NY World Trade Center. Eric was a motivated, intelligent compassionate and honest person who made an impact on every person that he met. We have established a charitable organization to honor his memory.
The mission of our non-profit fund is to provide donations annually to various deserving 9-11 organizations, and to provide annual support to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation https://searchdogfoundation.org/ The Search Dog Foundation rescues pound dogs and trains them to perform search and rescue operations. Teams of these dogs were utilized on the recovery mission at Ground Zero.
The continued support of the foundation, and our annual golf tournament, have allowed us to provide over $50,000 of donations to the Search Dog Foundation as well as other worthwhile 9/11 related charities. For those donating, the Eric Evans Memorial Charitable Fund Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation with tax exempt status under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code.
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Pictured above is the founder of the Search Dog Foundation Wilma Melville. Since 2003, the Eric Evans Memorial has donated over $50,000 to the SDF and specifically to their state-of-art training center.
The Eric Evans Memorial Fund sponsored the Search Dog Foundation (SDF) Handler Course and supported Echo and his handler via our grant to the Search Team Scholarship Fund.
The Eric Evans Memorial Fund sponsored the SDF Handler Course and supported Marley and his handler via our grant to the Search Team Scholarship Fund.
Published by: "The Day" newspaper, September 13, 2002...
At a Labor Day cookout last year, a few weeks shy of his 32nd birthday, Eric Brian Evans told his best friend, Keith Carlson, he was tired of working in New York City. The money was good, but the hassles didn't seem worth it anymore. He had told his parents, Charles and Corinne, who live in Norwich, that he was hoping to move back to Connecticut. He talked of buying a house in Old Saybrook. He and his girlfriend, Karina Almansa, with whom he had lived for two years, had talked of growing old together. His friends had seen him with several girlfriends over the years, but his relationship with Karina was on a whole different level.
Less than two weeks after the Labor Day picnic, the strikingly handsome, dark-haired insurance executive perished along with 174 of his co-workers at Aon Corp. in the south tower of the World Trade Center. In the year since last Sept. 11, the family and close friends Eric left behind have only begun finding ways to live with what will surely be lifelong pain.
"The anger and the grief are still there," said his father, retired from careers in the Marines and at Dow Chemical. "There have been a number of emotional events in my life, but nothing to match this. It's something you just don't get over."
He and his wife live in the home where they raised their five sons. The home sits perched atop a steep driveway in a woodsy neighborhood on Butternut Drive. Eric, born while his father was serving in Vietnam, was the second youngest of the brothers. A downstairs bedroom is still filled with clothes and shoes he had left during visits home. Eric would often stop at Clinton Crossing on the way to shop for more, recalled his mother. She and her husband have started to box up some of the clothes, but sorting through his belongings is still too hard.
"It makes everything tight," said his father.
An answering machine message he left for them shortly before his death hasn't been erased. In it, he tells his parents that the north tower had been hit, but he was safe in the south.
That morning Corinne was on her way to a doctor's appointment when she suddenly was overcome with a strong sensation. Tears welled. She wondered whether something was wrong with her eyes. When she arrived at the doctor's office, she learned of the terrorist attacks. She believes now that the moment when she was overcome in her car was the same moment the jetliner crashed into the offices where her son was at work.
None of Eric's remains or belongings from the World Trade Center was recovered. The Evanses have visited the site three times over the last year and returned this week for the one-year memorial ceremony. They believe the place where the towers stood is holy ground, too sacred to too many people to ever be covered with new buildings.
"Every bit of dirt you pick up, you wonder if it could be someone's ashes," said Corinne.
Aon, a risk management, reinsurance and consulting firm, has relocated in Manhattan but still devotes a large section on its Web site to the tragedy and individual entries about each of its workers who died. Many of Eric's friends, co-workers and clients signed a section of the online guest book devoted to him, offering prayers, condolences and fond memories.
"Are you fishing where you are?" asks one friend in a June 17 entry, the second of two he submitted. "I think of you and Karina every day. It still feels like it was yesterday, and I am having a hard time letting go. This year, it will be empty, where you were last time. ... We miss you so much."
*For Eric's parents, every day of the past year has brought some reminder of what happened. There are piles of paperwork to complete, bank accounts to close. They sent Eric's high school graduation photo and a poem, "Death is Nothing at All," to Hartford, where they are part of a display at the Legislative Office Building on the victims from Connecticut.
There is much about the last year the Evanses don't want to talk about. Their grief is too personal. Charles lives with a persistent fear that a terrorist tragedy could happen again.
"You want to stay out of crowds," he said. "It makes you suspect almost everybody. The things you used to take for granted you no longer do."
Lawyers call asking them to join class-action lawsuits. They've been to a meeting about the legal action but haven't decided whether to join. It's impossible to pick up a newspaper, turn on the television or listen to the radio without encountering something relating to Sept. 11.
"The paperwork is unbelievable," said Corinne, a retired secretary and human resources director. "This is very difficult. It was a waste of lives."
She thumbs through a photo album filled with pictures of her son from infancy to his young adult years, when he had the income to satisfy a taste for travel and adventure. He visited Mexico, Italy and Tahiti. The last picture in the album was taken on Aug. 3, 2001, on a beach in Maine. On the back Corinne wrote: "The last time I saw Eric."
"He would try almost anything, including skydiving," she said. "In 2000, that was his birthday present from his girlfriend."
Neither they nor their sons have found much solace over the past year. Eric's four brothers were not able to discuss their brother for this article. Visits from Corinne's sister and other family members have brought some comfort, she said, and two scholarship funds honoring Eric provide one way to wrest some good from the tragedy.
The Evanses set up one of the funds through the Community Foundation of Southeastern Connecticut and another through the Diocese of Norwich. The money will help to send students to Eric's two alma maters, St. Bernard High School in Uncasville, where he starred in football and wrestling, and Syracuse University, where he studied economics.
"If you've got a son or daughter and they're getting ready to go away, you may not see them again," said Charles. "If you've got anything to say to them, you'd better say it."
*For Keith Carlson, a Danbury resident, losing his best friend has left a void that he thinks will never be fully filled. The two became friends in 1994, when both were interns at the New Haven office that houses the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and CIRMA, which provides municipal insurance. With two other young men, they shared a condominium in Danbury. Later, when both Keith and Eric had changed their jobs and moved to Boston and New Jersey, respectively, they continued to get together every other weekend. When Keith decided to marry two years ago, he asked Eric to be in his wedding party.
"We'd play touch football, golf, video games, drink beer, have cookouts -- just about any stupid guy-activity you could think of," Keith said. "It's just been a strange year. You're trying to put everything back together, but there's still something missing. There's a hole. I wear an American flag pin over my heart every day. I was so tight with Eric, I think about him every day.
"He was the best friend anyone could ask for."
Attempts to reach Karina, Eric's girlfriend, were unsuccessful. Since his death, she has been active in projects in Eric's honor. She and Keith and a couple of Eric's other friends organized a golf tournament in Stonington in July that raised $8,000 for a third scholarship fund in his memory. The fund will help a graduating St. Bernard senior attend college. About 60 people attended. Some of the funds raised that day will also be donated to an animal welfare organization, Keith said. Shortly before his death, Eric, who had a lifelong love of dogs, adopted Skip, a 70-pound mutt, and took it home to his apartment in Weehawken, N.J., where he grew tomatoes and basil in the back yard.
Keith expects the golf tournament and other fund-raisers will become annual events, bringing friends together to keep Eric's memory alive.
"The only revelation I've had over the past year is to take stock and appreciate the little things," Keith said. "Appreciate your friends and family. It's definitely made me appreciate my wife more."
In fact, Keith wouldn't have met his wife, Stephanie, if not for Eric. One night, she and some friends went to a bar in Danbury. They noticed Eric and decided to introduce themselves. Eric's good looks worked like a magnet for women, said Keith, who happened to be with his friend that night. Matt Fritz, another CCM intern, was also in their group. As the night wore on, Keith and his future wife began talking. Matt and one of Stephanie's friends became acquainted that night, too, and they also married.
Keith and Stephanie are now expecting their first child, a boy, due Oct. 5. His name will be Evan Eric Carlson.
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