Red, White and Blue (and Orange)

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The beauty of the ballpark is its propensity for bringing people together.

That was certainly the intent when a group of employees from Frager’s Hardware Store was treated to a night at Nationals Park on Tuesday to watch the Nationals beat the Diamondbacks, 7-5. A fire devastated the 93-year-old business on June 5, a tragedy for both its crew and the Capitol Hill neighborhood it serves.

Employees of Frager's Hardware took in the Nats 7-5 victory over Arizona Tuesday night.

Employees of Frager’s Hardware took in the Nats 7-5 victory over Arizona Tuesday night.

With every effort since then aimed at rebuilding and reopening, a loyal customer of Frager’s decided the crew deserved a much-needed break and donated a block of 40 tickets for Tuesday’s game. Decked out in blue-and-orange Frager’s gear, the store’s contingent was in high spirits as Gio Gonzalez took the hill for the Nats.

“We’ve been working day and night, cleaning up the wreckage, finding temporary spaces, finding a place where we can stock merchandise … and it’s been very busy,” said Harold Maupin, a manager at Frager’s. “(The customer) decided we needed a break, and what better than a Nationals game? It was a kind benefactor.”

Maupin said the response from the community has been overwhelming and that the recovery has gone “better than I thought it possibly could.” Donations and kind acts have been pouring in, from helping the store set up a pop-up shop at Eastern Market to administering monetary donations through the Capitol Hill Community Foundation for employees who have lost their income.

“It’s a welcome opportunity because we have been working very hard,” Maupin said of the chance to convene at the park. “There are so many people I would like to thank that we don’t have time for, because there’s a ballgame to watch.”

Hopefully the few hours at the ballpark and a Nationals victory provided a welcome break to those working hard to restore the District landmark.

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