2,000 Miles Away, Co-Workers Rally to Support Slain Girl's Family

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A hundred people work in a collection of large buildings in rural Carson Valley, producing the world's best sails for its premier racing yachts.

None of them knew six year old Olivia Rose Engel, but her death in last Friday's shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut has touched people here in a very personal way.

It's not hard for any of us to feel a sense of loss, looking at the smiling face of this young girl, who were told was bright, creative, excited to be cast as an angel in her hometown's nativity play this Christmas.

In some way, she and the other 19 young victims now belong to all of us, but to people here at North Sails, she was part of the family. Olivia's father, Brian is also a North Sails employee, at their Milford, Connecticut plant, just a short distance from Newtown.

Jeff Holden was shocked and saddened as we all were when news of the shooting broke Friday.

"Like everybody else I wanted to do something," Then Saturday he learned of the connection of one of the victims to the company.
"When I found out, I said I had to do something."

It wasn't that most of the workers at the Minden plant knew the Engel family,

"Most of them have no direct line to Brian and the family there because we're two thousand miles away, but it's still like everybody it opens your eyes and you realize it's a small world out there."

And so they've decided to do something in direct support of the Engels family.

"Money can't replace their daughter, but maybe it can help them get through what's ahead," says Holden.

"They're going to need counseling. There's bills to pay. There's a whole lot of things this family is going to go through for the rest of their lives,"

North Sails has been a part of the Carson Valley community for some time. It's connection with the tragedy in Connecticut will be felt in the community at large.

So, they're asking others to join them, opening their front lobby to donations this Thursday from noon to 12. Donations will also be collected at the two Coffee on Main stands in Minden and Gardnerville.

"Everybody around this country and the world is impacted and here it's just a little bit closer to home even though it's still two thousand miles away."

Those who don't live in the Minden-Gardnerville area can make donations through a Facebook page set up for the Engel family: