Trust fund opened for family of avalanche victim

AJ Cleary, the victim of an avalanche near Lumby, with his wife.
Image Credit: Silver Star Mountain Resort

VERNON - The community is coming together to support the family of a man caught in an avalanche over the weekend.

Silver Star Ski Resort opened a trust fund for avalanche victim AJ Cleary’s family today. Cleary, 34,  was snowmobiling with a group near Keefer Lake, east of Lumby on Saturday when the avalanche occurred and buried him beneath the snow. Rescuers dug him out and he was airlifted to Kelowna General but he didn’t survive.

He worked as a part-time employee at Silver Star Resort last summer and was a downhill mountain biking coach.
Jane Cann, president of Silver Star Mountain Resort, contributed $1,000 to launch the fund. Silver Star is encouraging staff and members of the community to donate to the cause.
“When I was approached with the idea to start a fund, it was a no brainer for me,” Cann said in a release. “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.”
Cleary 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. “We’re all shocked and saddened by this news. We will remember AJ for being a passionate mountain biker (who) was an inspiration to all young riders.”
Cleary 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 him. The date and more details about the event 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 32 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

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230.

CANNINGS: On rural municipalities, young people, and a national carbon tax
  OPINION Editor, In my last column, I discussed some of the issues we heard about at House Finance Committee hearings.  I’d like to mention a few more of the thought-provoking ideas discussed on the se

Top News