The owner and manager of a Hawthorne apartment complex donated $500 to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, a non-profit organization that seeks to give financial assistance to sailors and Marines in need.
Corbin McDonald, the owner of the Sterling Heights apartment complex, and Dana Tommila, the complex’s manager, decided to make the donation after a March 18, 2013 explosion killed seven Marines and wounded at least six others and a sailor outside Hawthorne.
The donation began as a promotion to encourage Hawthornites to move to the complex, Tommila said. In letters to occupants, and a long-running ad in the Independent-News, the pair vowed to donate the money when the complex was full.
“Yet times were hard and the apartment complex had many empty apartments,” Tommila wrote in an article she planned to submit for publication before she knew this story was being written.
The promotion lead to “several” new move ins, Tommila wrote.
Ten months later, the complex is “technically” full, and McDonald and Tommila agreed it was time to make the donation, and consulted with John Stroud, commander of the Hawthorne Veterans of Foreign Wars post, to decide which organization was best to make the donation to.
“There’s nothing specific that you can give to [the victims], they’ve passed,” Tommila said in an interview. “All of their bills have been met already by the Marines. So you put it into the [Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society] so that it actually goes toward the marines.”
The funds will be used by the branch of the society in Camp Lejeune, N.C., the home base for the men killed and wounded in the accident.
Tommila said she’s not sure how her and McDonald decided on the amount to donate, but thinks its crucial to make similar donations as a way to give back to the community.
“It happened within our community,” she said. “Those soldiers from that camp, it happened within our community. It just is [giving back to the community.]”
An investigation into the deadly accident determined it was caused by human error.