Dinner at Grand Lake restaurant benefits those facing family tragedy | SkyHiNews.com

Dinner at Grand Lake restaurant benefits those facing family tragedy

Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

When serious strife or tragedy strikes, families are rarely prepared for the overwhelming obstacles that surface. But there is a local organization whose soul purpose is to help ” and residents and visitors can help too by attending the 7th Annual K.O.L.E. benefit dinner Thursday, Feb. 28.

The K.O.L.E. group calls itself “a ray of sunshine fund for Grand County,” helping families in emergencies and primarily those with members who have cancer. Kevin Cole Jr., the inspiration for the group, lost his battle but before he died he dreamed of a fund which could help families like his.

Kevin Jr. had been amazed by how many people in the community stepped in to offer encouragement, prayers, meals and monetary support. He tried to think of some way he could give back when he recovered, but that time never happened for him. After they reluctantly said their goodbyes, parents Roz and Kevin set up Kevin’s Outreach for Local Emergencies Inc. in his honor.

“The inspiration and driving force behind this organization is Kevin and his deep faith and trust in God, his strength, his courage and his determination to show Grand County how grateful he was for all that was given so freely when he and his family were in this life-altering situation,” Roz said. “Kevin’s giving nature is the reason our motto is ‘The gifts you have been given, give as a gift.'”

Kevin Jr. was just 19 years old when his body succumbed to cancer, a story which truly touched the hearts of Tom and Lynn Ludwig, who also lost a son to cancer and own the Rapids, which has hosted the event for the last seven years.

“We got a lot of help (then) ” no questions asked,” Tom recalls, “We felt it was payback time, plus we like to help the community when we can. We don’t mind spending some money to help out. The community’s been good to us.”

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The Ludwigs are again donating the food and some of the labor for the event as their staff joins members of the Grand Lake Fire Protection District in helping diners enjoy the evening. The GLFPD, in which Kevin Jr. was a volunteer (as well as both of his parents), will be dressed in their “Class B” uniforms to greet guests, bus tables and wash dishes in support of the good cause.

“The Cole family has been a large and committed part of our organization for years,” said Mindy Everhart on behalf of the department. “We are always excited to be a part of this fundraiser each year helping to make a positive difference where we live and work.”

The organization could not go on without the generosity of its volunteers and donors and welcomes and appreciates all donations. Its goal is to continue to grow so that it can serve people with large medical emergencies and tragedies and further expand its level of service. Just a few ways funds can help:

– Meals, gasoline and overnight stays outside the county

– Loss of employment

– Bills that are in areas such as electric, heating, phone, car insurance, etc.

– Adequate nutrition for the cancer patient and groceries for the family

– Personal items for comfort such as new bedding, pajamas, lotion, non-prescription drugs, etc.

In addition to financial need, families may also take the opportunity to use some of the funds for a special treat or family outing.

“Enjoyments like these can provide fond memories in a time of trouble and are sometimes better therapy than medical treatment,” Roz explains in the K.O.L.E. Inc. pamphlet. “We consider our funds to be more than just financial, but a gift of caring.”

Community seating for the annual benefit dinner takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. and reservations are required. The all-you-can-eat prime rib dinner includes vegetable side, salad, mashed potatoes, roll and brownies (made by selfless local resident Olney Kliewer).

A minimum $15 donation is requested and all donations are tax deductible. All proceeds go to K.O.L.E.

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