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GoFundMe campaigns started for crane-collapse victims' families

(UPDATE: July 14 @ 8:05 am) - Family and friends have identified a fourth victim of Monday's crane collapse in downtown Kelowna.

A GoFundMe has been created to support the family of Cailen Vilness, describing him as "a prince of a man."

"He lived life to the fullest and enjoyed spending as much time as possible with his family," the fundraiser description said.

"Only 23, he had his whole life ahead of him and was getting ready to spend the rest of his life with the woman of his dreams."

<who>Photo Credit: GoFundMe</who>Cailen with his girlfriend Jaydean and their dog.

More than $20,000 has already been donated towards the $50,000 goal and the funds will help cover the unexpected costs of a funeral, lost wages, travel and any other expenses the family will incur over the coming days and weeks.

Vailen leaves behind his girlfriend Jaydean, "whom he was about to propose to," as well as his parents, five siblings and a dog.

On Tuesday, a pair of GoFundMe campaigns were created for the other three workers who died on Monday.

One is raising funds for the Stemmer family, who lost brothers Eric and Patrick, while the other is for the family of Jared Zook.

More information on those fundraisers can be found below.


(Original story: July 13 @ 4:40 pm) - With tributes such as "husbands, fathers, sons, friends and chosen family to so many" and "fun, kind and loving son/brother/friend/nephew/cousin/husband", GoFundMe campaigns launched Tuesday for three of the five victims of Monday's crane collapse disaster in Kelowna.

The first GoFundMe is organized by Christa Walker, cousin to Jared Zook, 32, one of the riggers who died when the crane crashed Monday at the construction site for the nearly complete 25-storey Brooklyn condominium tower downtown at the corner of Bernard Avenue and St. Paul Street.

</who>Jared Zook of Kelowna was one of the riggers killed in Monday's crane crash at the Brooklyn highrise condominium construction site at the corner of Bernard Avenue and St. Paul Street. This photo comes from Zook's Facebook page.

The second GoFundMe is organized by Emily Roy, a family friend of brothers Eric and Patrick Stemmer, who also lost their lives when the crane fell.

Eric and Patrick are the sons of Wolfram Stemmer, who owns Salmon Arm-based Stemmer Construction, the company that provided the crane for the Brooklyn highrise.

Eric and Patrick also leave behind wives, a pregnant Katie and Nakita, and children Oaklyn, Tillie, Henley and Hayden.

</who>Eric Stemmer, pictured here with his family, died, along with his brother, Patrick, in the crane collapse. This photo is on the GoFundMe page for the brothers' families.

"These men are husbands, fathers, sons, friends and chosen family to so many," said Roy on the GoFundMe page for the Stemmer family.

"This sudden loss is nothing short of heartbreaking."

The Stemmer family GoFundMe has a goal of $50,000.

As of 3:45 pm Tuesday, $28,018 had been raised from 272 donors and the GoFundMe page had been shared 1,800 times.

"Money doesn't fix anything," said Roy in the GoFundMe post.

"However, it can provide support and self care that these women are in need of. These women are bravely tackling grief and figuring everything out as they go."

Meantime, the GoFundMe for Jared Zook's family had raised $13,645 as of 3:35 pm from 153 donors towards a goal of $20,000.

"This tragedy seems so unreal," said one of the donors, Tim Wozney.

"There are no words that can be said to help you all, I know."

Zook's parents, Pam and Steven, will use the money to cover the cost of the funeral, travel (they are from Edmonton), lost wages and unexpected expenses.

"Our family is devastated by the loss of our fun, kind and loving son/brother/friend/nephew/cousin/husband," said Christa Walker in the GoFundMe post.

"Our lives are infinitely better for having him be a part of them. We know Jesus is wrapping his arms tightly around him right now."



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