Community bands together to help family

Dinner and performance by Redfish to help the family of Armstrong children who perished in motor home fire.

The boys from North Okanagan band Redfish

The community of Armstrong is banding together after a number of tragedies this past month.

On Saturday, a benefit is being held to support the family of Ava and Austin Claassen, the two Armstrong children, ages five and four, who died in a devastating motor home fire near Lytton on Oct. 12.

The benefit at Armstrong’s Branding Iron Pub is to support the children’s family, including mother Darice Keating, with the cost of funeral arrangements as well as other expenses.

A number of friends and family will be at the event also in support of the children’s grandmother, Rhonda Keating, a longtime employee at the Valley First Credit Union’s Armstrong branch, who was also in the motor home at the time of the fire, and has been at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops ever since.

“We want to be sold out and show this family all the love we can. It’s going to be a fun night with good food, good people, and good times,” said organizer Lydia Jovanovic, a friend of Darice Keating’s.

The benefit includes a performance by North Okanagan rock band Redfish, whose members are donating their time to the cause.

A dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m., with the performance by Redfish at 9:30 p.m.

A number of items have also been raised for both a live and a silent auction that night, including donations of tickets to shows at the Caravan Farm, Vernon Performing Arts Centre, Komasket Music Festival, as well as paintings, pottery, photographs, jewelry, gift baskets, gift certificates, a picnic table, accommodation packages and a special prize of a West Jet flight, plus much more.

Friday is the last chance to purchase tickets, which are $25 per person for the dinner and dance, and $15 for the concert only. They can be purchased at the Branding Iron Pub, or by contacting Jovanovic at 250-241-4847.



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