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Kitimat community comes together to help family after son dies in Kelowna crane collapse

Cailen Vilness, 23, lost his life in the crane collapse that occurred in Kelowna, July 12, 2021
Family friends will be going down to Kelowna on Thursday and will be dropping off cards to the family, showing love and support from the community. (Cards for Cailen poster)

Everton and Tracy Weekes and Living Faith Church have set up a GoFundMe page for the Pritchett/Vilness/Braham families in recognition of Kitimat local, Cailen Vilness, 23, who lost his life in the crane collapse that occurred in Kelowna Monday, July 12, 2021.

The fundraiser has been put on to help the family cover the costs of the funeral, lost wages, travel, and any other expenses the family may need to cover.

Jason and Sara Besler, family friends of Cailen’s parents, are also collected from the community showing their love and support and took them to Kelowna last week to give them to the family.

As Cailen’s family is from Kitimat and went to Kelowna when they heard the news, family friends also made freezer meals for the family when they are ready to come home.

“Cailen lived life to the fullest and enjoyed spending as much time as possible with his family, including his parents Chris (stepmom Hayley) and Danielle, girlfriend Jaydean whom he was about to propose to, brothers Layne and Declan, sisters Kharis, Ana, and Madelyn, and his dog Ellie along with many longtime friends,” Everton Weekes, organizer for Kelowna Crane Collapse - Help Cailen’s Family stated in the GoFundMe page.

“His absence has left an intelligible mark on those he left behind.”

The crane fell around 11 a.m. Monday, as crews were working to dismantle it. The fall caused significant damage to surrounding buildings, including a seniors’ home, prompting RCMP to evacuate much of the area. The City of Kelowna called a local state of emergency shortly after the incident.

Mission Group has made grief counselling available to workers who were on-site at the time of the incident.

READ MORE: Deadly Kelowna crane collapse sparks calls for mandatory training, certification for operators