Northern Nevadans Finding Ways To Support Shooting Victims' Families

Olivia Engel, Age 6
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Last Friday's shooting left many here feeling they needed to do something, anything in response.

Dena Palmer's family has decided to turn a holiday arts and crafts project into a fundraiser, selling Christmas decorations at a convenience store at Sparks Boulevard and Los Altos.

"I wanted to do something to make a difference and show my kids that's what's really important is getting together over the holidays and doing something like this."

Their creations, small colorful Christmas trees sell for $20. The owner of Dad's Qwik Mart was inspired by the family selling at his place that he's holding a raffle of his own.

In Carson Valley, the effort has a specific purpose and a little girl's face to inspire them. No one here ever met Olivia Engel, but her death has left a mark on many hearts here.

Olivia's father Brian works for North Sails at their plant in Milford, Connecticut, a short distance from the scene of the shooting. The family had little contact with any of the North Sails employees here, but it felt like they had lost of of their own.

So, they decided to help the only way they could from the other side of the country. They launched a fund raiser and the community here has joined them. A number of their neighbors, people with no connection to the company or the family have been responding, dropping off donations at the North Sails plant.

"It gives us a wonderful feeling that so many people are willing to come out and help a family they've never met," says North Sails employee Dawn Morgan.

Local resident Stacie Gunderson and her husband Mike dropped off a check Thursday afternoon.

Donations are also being gathered at the two Coffee on Main locations in Minden and the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Owner Karen Hall says her regular customers have been joined by people she never see who make a point to drop in and leave a donation for the Engel family.

"When you look at it in the big picture of more than 20 people, it's overwhelming," says Hall. "But when you look at every one of these families with a little first grader, it hits home for everybody."

"We may not know this family, but we just all wanted to do something, try to help in some way and just show them that we're here."

Connecticut may be two thousand miles away, but the bright, smiling face of a young girl we're told was excited about playing an angel in her town's Christmas nativity scene has apparently bridged that distance.

Donations to the Engel Family Fund will continue to be gathered for the next few days at the Coffee on Main locations.

The Palmer family says they will be selling their homemade decorations at Dad's Qwik Mart at Sparks Boulevard and Los Altos Friday and Saturday.