The first WaterFire I attended, I was visiting Rhode Island for the very first time! Most people don’t know this but my husband (and boat Captain Paul) and I met when I lived in Ohio and he lived here in RI. We dated long-distance for a couple of years. Then, I moved here and we became The Bovenzi Bunch, 3 boys and 3 girls between us!

On that first visit, we ate dinner downtown and then walked to the water to see WaterFire and I was blown away! The event is magical, mysterious, relaxing and so inspiring. I loved the beauty surrounding me, the sense of community and the true love of the arts that was on display for all to see and enjoy. What an amazing experience! So, years later when I moved here, I wanted to find a place to volunteer, meet new people and get to know this city in a way that would fit in with our busy lives and our interest in the arts. I suggested to my husband that we give WaterFire a try. The rest as they say, is history.

I continue to feel that same sense of awe and inspiration during the evening fires. I continue to make new friends at every morning build and I always look forward to our Volunteer Socials and the chance to relax and get to know the volunteers and WaterFire staff in a new light. I have had some amazing evenings on the water, but the one that is the most memorable and emotional for me was the WaterFire Lighting where we were asked by Gary to host one of the mothers whose child was a victim at Sandy Hook.  I don’t think I could ever explain what my conversations with his mother meant to me.  It was heartbreaking, yet also so beautiful to be there with her as she paid tribute to her son. It was an honor to be there with her and I will be eternally grateful to be a part of an organization that can bring a sense of peace and love to our community. That, to me, is truly the most important part of WaterFire. The opportunity it allows our Veterans, our teachers and our families to be honored, to be seen and to know that they are valued and worth celebrating is priceless.

So, I say to anyone that asks, I love being a part of WaterFire because it is more than just volunteering for an event. It is being part of an organization that wants to make our community and  lives better, through giving to important causes, through providing beautiful experiences for natives and tourists to experience together and through a stunning display of the arts.

– Heather Bovenzi