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Benefit will help family of boy who died after tragic fire
A young boy who died three weeks ago after succumbing to injuries suffered inside a burning motorhome has touched the hearts of residents from across the South Okanagan.
Those same residents from across this region are being asked to help support the family of Cody O’Connor, 8, who perished September 13, three weeks after being rescued by Oliver Fire Chief Dan Skaros inside his family’s motorhome at Centennial RV Park.
The membership from the Royal Canadian Legion in Osoyoos, Oliver and Okanagan Falls are spearheading a fundraising campaign and holding a benefit concert for O’Connor’s family.
The benefit, which will feature musicians and bands from across the South Okanagan, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Okanagan Falls Legion, starting at noon.
“We’ve decided to hold the benefit at the Legion in Okanagan Falls because we have a little more space here and we’re hoping for a big crowd, so it seemed like the best place to hold this,” said Barb Few, publicity officer for the Okanagan Falls Legion Branch 227.
The O’Connor family is not only struggling with the horrific death of Cody, but they lost virtually everything they owned in the fire, said Few.
“The fire wiped out everything they owned,” she said. “They didn’t have any insurance and were living in that trailer at the time.
“It’s a very sad situation and we want to do something to try and help this family get back on their feet.”
Several members of the O’Connor family are expected to attend the benefit, said Few.
“I know the grandmother has told me she plans on being there,” she said. “We don’t know how many members of the family are going to be there because they’re still struggling with this horrible event, but they really do appreciate what is being done for them and they want to be there to thank those who are helping them out.”
Skaros, who risked his life to try and save Cody, will also be in attendance, said Few.
“I know he remains devastated that he didn’t make it, but he will be on hand as will several other fire service representatives,” she said.
Numerous bands have already signed on for the benefit, including singer Cindy Doucette, Mike Spillette, Dale Seaman, Backflash Unplugged, Rusty Capland, Dan Laramie Trio, Roland Allan, Anita LeBlanc and Terry Bremner.
“All of the entertainment has been lined up by Damon and Terry Bremner from Penticton and all of the bands and entertainers from across the South Okanagan will be donating their time and talent to this cause,” said Few. “Everyone who was asked to perform didn’t hesitate for a second.
“We have a good lineup of talent and we expect more bands and musicians to join the lineup over the next couple of weeks.”
Everyone who attends the benefit will be fed well.
“There will be food served all day with the women from the ladies auxiliary at the legions in Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls volunteering to prepare food for the event,” she said. “Members from all three legions will be volunteering to help in every way possible.
“Members of the public who can’t make the benefit will also be able to drop off donations at their closest legion and all of that money will also be donated to the family.”
An online fundraising campaign that was launched several weeks ago helped raise money so the O’Connor family could bury Cody.
Cody’s grandmother Pearl De Prez said her family truly appreciates all of the emotional and financial support that has been forthcoming from citizens across this region and around the province.