Hernandez family relief a countywide effort | AspenTimes.com

Hernandez family relief a countywide effort

Alex Zorn
Citizen Telegram

In the 10 days since New Castle lost three members of the Hernandez family — Kimberly, 7, Brizeyda, 15, and Eugino Hernandez Altamirano, 63 — local organizations have come together to provide money, food and anything else the Hernandez family may need.

"I was feeling helpless as a mother and just started reaching out to other New Castle business owners and it just skyrocketed from there," said Michelle Cox, owner of New Castle Gardens.

Seven members of the family were in an SUV that struck a 300-pound bear on Interstate 70 outside of Rifle on Sept. 29. The four other occupants were injured.

Days after the accident, Cox began an email thread with several business owners, town officials and others who wanted to help. As of noon Friday the thread had nearly 100 separate businesses, officials and concerned members of the community looking to help out in any way they could.

"The community outreach has been unbelievable," Cox said. "Everybody from all crosses of life are coming together for the family."

While several fundraising efforts remain in the works and details about them will be forthcoming, the family's loss is felt throughout New Castle.

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Kimberly and Brizeyda both attended New Castle-area schools and their grandfather lived in El Jebel. An event was held at Mariscos Playa Azul on Friday where local bands and DJs donated their performance to collect money for the family. A private funeral was held for Eugino Hernandez Altamirano on Wednesday in Carbondale.

While the family was still in Denver as of Saturday as the youngest son, Pancho, remained hospitalized, his aunt Heidi Nunuez confirmed Saturday that he is doing better and is no longer in a medically induced coma.

Nunez also confirmed that Pancho's grandmother is recovering in a hospital in Grand Junction.

Those looking to help out should mark Oct. 20 on their calendars.

New Castle's Ritter Plaza Music Series, held each month, is set on that date as a fundraiser for the family.

Usually hosted at Ritter Plaza, the concert has been moved to Burning Mountain Park because organizers were concerned they'd outgrown the downtown plaza.

"It happened so quickly and so many people volunteered that we decided to move it to Burning Mountain Park," said organizer Ryan Wilch. "We decided to have a silent auction because we heard from so many businesses across the valley."

Games will be in place for kids and Wilch and organizer Susane Ruggles are looking to bring face-painting, balloon animals and other activities to make it a family-friendly event.

Anyone looking to donate to the auction can bring items to New Castle Gardens to be sold Oct. 20.

Gift certificates from White Lodge Tattoo and New Castle Liquors will be available and Glenwood Caverns and Iron Mountain Hot Springs have already agreed to donate passes. New Castle Pepsi also is looking to get involved. For more information reach out to Michelle Cox at Michelle@newcastlegardens.com.

Members of the community will be meeting Tuesday to firm up plans for the Oct. 20 fundraiser.

Support the hernandez family

Donate to “The Family Hernandez Donation Account” at Wells Fargo

Donate to “Hernandez funeral & medical expense” Go Fund Me campaign at http://www.gofundme.com/hernandez-funeral-medical-expense

Know of other local fundraisers for the family? Contact reporter Alex Zorn at azorn@citizentelegram.com.

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