Silver Star Ski Resort Ltd. has opened a trust fund for avalanche victim AJ Cleary’s family.
AJ passed away as a result of being caught in an avalanche near Keefer Lake on Saturday March 8. He worked as a part-time employee at the resort last summer and was a downhill mountain biking coach.
Jane Cann, President of Silver Star Mountain Resort, kicked off the campaign by contributing $1,000 to launch the fund.
“When I was approached with the idea to start a fund, it was a no brainer for me,” said Jane. “We haven’t done anything like this before but for someone that showed so much support for their community and its members, this is the least we can do for his family.”
The 34-year-old Vernon resident was an active member of the Okanagan community. He was known for his work as a nurse at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital, as well as for his dedication and commitment to mountain biking.
The avid mountain biker regularly used Silver Star’s mountain biking facility over the past several years to enjoy one of his passions. He had a reputation as a fast, skilled rider and was nicknamed ‘Turbo.’
He coached many young riders in the sport and was a source of inspiration to everyone he came in contact with.
“My wife worked with AJ at the hospital and my son was coached by him,” said Brad Baker, acting General Manager at the resort, whose idea it was to start the fund. “We’re all shocked and saddened by this news. We will remember AJ for being a passionate mountain biker that was an inspiration to all young riders.”
AJ was a member of the North Okanagan Cycling Society (NOCS) that builds, maintains, protects and advocates for new trails.
A downhill mountain bike race is scheduled at Silver Star Mountain Resort for July to honour AJ. The date and more details will be forthcoming.
Donations made out to the Baby Cleary Trust can be dropped off at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation Office located at 2191 32nd Street, Vernon, BC.
To donate to the trust, cheques can be addressed to:
Baby Cleary Trust
3108 33 Avenue, Vernon
c/o Vantage One Credit Union, Vernon