STRUTHERS, Ohio (WYTV) – It has been almost six months since the tragic murder of 4-year-old Rowan Sweeney. Since then, the community has wrapped its arms around the family, much of that support coming from Rowan’s great aunt.
This week’s Hometown Hero is Vicki Dugan, the woman who has been planning and executing the fundraisers that will help build Rowan’s Memorial Park.
“Everybody needs an Aunt Vicki in their life, I think,” said Struthers Mayor Cat Cercone Miller.
She’s the woman behind the fundraisers and flyers.
“The bigger events are more of what I do, the community events that come to us,” Dugan said.
Dugan has been working tirelessly since day one to help build the park.
“She really goes above and beyond. She planned that spaghetti pasta dinner before we could even think of it. She’s just on the ball,” said David Sweeney, Rowan’s dad.
For Dugan, it was an opportunity to use her 25 years of non-profit work to help her family heal after tragedy struck back on Sept. 21, 2020.
“It really does help with the grieving process. It keeps us busy, it keeps us more positive because we are building this park for Rowan and we want this park for the community,” Dugan said.
With a handful of fundraisers already under their belt, Dugan pushes forward to what they can do next and how they can continue to reach their fundraising goal.
“She’s been down to city hall many times and she kind of encompassed everything and organized everything very, very well,” Cercone Miller said.
Organizing with the City of Struthers, partnering with local businesses and working every angle she can.
“There’s a lot of times where we, ya know, have down times and we talk about it. It just brings us right back up to know what we’re doing for Rowan,” Dugan said.
So that Rowan’s legacy can live on.
“I hope she knows I couldn’t do this without her, she’s that important. I couldn’t do it without her and I hope she knows that,” David said.
“We know that eventually, we’re going to get to where we need to be and build that park,” Dugan said.