Grand County community helps family through double tragedy |

Grand County community helps family through double tragedy

by Cyndi McCoy
Grand Lake, Colorado

Because she has been a good friend to the Pellini family, many people have approached Lorri Tenney about what they can do to help in light of the family’s recent double tragedy.

There’s no doubt about it, 43-year-old Kevin Pellini was taken from this world too early. The husband, father, friend and neighbor was tragically killed when he was struck by a tree on the south shore of Grand Lake. Not only were his wife Sonya, daughter Gabrielle (4) and son Russell left behind to pick up the pieces, they were left without a place to live.

The Pellini family home was declared unlivable when a severe, health-threatening mold infestation was found.

Tenney said she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to go through that and the loss of a family member at the same time.

Tenney got to thinking about how all those interested could help and the one main thing was financial aid.

“That’s really what she needs right now,” Tenney said. “My goal would be to raise enough to help Sonya rebuild her life, so she doesn’t have to worry about the stresses and pressure.” As the Pellini family waits for a remodel of their home, a chili/soup supper and silent auction has been put together to feed up to 300 people and help raise funds for the family.

One phone call to the food supervisor at the high school in Granby began a gracious roll of donations. The supervisor got Sysco to donate, Sherry Kent is rolling out crust for about 100 pies, and another donation was made to help buy the ingredients for those pies. Big-ticket auction items include delivery of split firewood, overnight stays at places like C Lazy U, dinner at many of the county’s major restaurants and ski and golf passes.

“Support has been almost somewhat overwhelming. It’s just been amazing. This is a great place to live,” Tenney said.

Sonya said Kevin, who is remembered for his dedication to his work and his community, thought very highly of Grand County. In fact, she noted, he had several job prospects elsewhere that he turned down.

“He never wanted to move,” she said. “This was his home.

“This (fundraiser) says how much one person can make such an impact,” Sonya said about the support that has surfaced in her husband’s honor.

Kevin’s family came to Grand County in the early 1920s and Kevin began working for the trails program at RMNP right out of high school, serving for 23 years. He left the park to start his own business in 2006 as an independent logging contractor and owner of Gold Run Forestry. He had been working on a logging operation in the area, gathering slash on the tragic day.

After their kids were born with severe food allergies affecting their digestion and growth development, and doctors couldn’t pinpoint a reason. Sonya and Kevin took a close look at their home. A mold remediation quote estimated that the project would cost around $75,000 for the 40-year-old, 1,800-square-foot home and a lot of the original furnishings didn’t make the extraction.

For donations of labor, equipment, material and other ways to help the Pellini family, contact Hal Simmons at (970) 887-1164.

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