GREAT FALLS, Mont. - A community in our state is coming together after the tragic loss of a Cascade County Search and Rescue member and his 10-year-old son. Tyler Weir was a three year member of the Great Falls Ski Patrol and a Master Sergeant with 13 years of experience in the Montana Air National Guard. He and his son Wyatt were killed in the crash.
"He was a valued member of our Ski Patrol, he was a very caring person and wanted to make sure that he could use his talents and abilities to help others when they needed help,” Allan Rabbit with the Great Falls Ski Patrol said.
Weir's wife and their two other children are still recovering in the hospital and the people of Great Falls are working to support the Weirs any way possible.
Rabbitt isn't surprised by such generosity.
"I'm always amazed at the generosity of the Great Falls community and central Montana area. Things that I've witnessed in the past, the ways people step up and take care of our neighbors is pretty amazing,” Rabbitt said.
Right now Jennifer Weir is recovering at Benefis Hospital. Her two children Wes and Wakely are being treated at Harborview Medical Center. Colleagues say this family is known for helping others, now it's their turn to receive.
"We will definitely do something for the family but right now, I think a lot of people are kind of dazed and working through it we'll definitely be in touch with the family and support them any way we can,” Rabbitt said.
So far the Great Falls community has raised more than $35,000. Some called it the Montana way, others said it's just the right thing to do.
"The Great Falls Ski Patrol has a number of different options we are looking at for raising money for the family right now. Of course we want to always be involved in ways that we can help with for a direct fundraiser that we're doing or indirectly supporting somebody else's fundraiser,” Rabbitt said.
The Great Falls Ski Patrol plans to continue ongoing fundraising efforts for the family. This weekend alone Showdown Ski Resort raised over $25,000. The Purplegold food truck was able to raise over $9,590. A Venmo page is set up online and the Great Divide Ski Resort is also taking donations.
"Because of the amount of work and dedication it takes to become a member of the Great Falls Ski Patrol, by the time you become a member it's pretty well evident that your dedication to helping people and wanting to be involved and making sure people are safe or taken care of if something does go bad for them makes it a pretty tight organization. We have a lot in common; a common goal with regard to helping people in that time of need, and consequently it's pretty easy to make friendships with people you have that much in common with. And Tyler was definitely one of those kinds of people. He was very caring, always had something to say that would be admirable to the situation and if it was a little bit too serious or whatever he'd crack a little joke or something like that to lighten the mood whenever it needed to be. He had a wonderful sense of humor; he had a wonderful giving personality to others around him and was an absolute joy to have as a friend and as a co-worker on the Ski Patrol. He was instrumental in organizing an avalanche class that I taught this year, he was a liaison between the Great Falls Ski Patrol and Search and Rescue. His actions provided and made sure there was an opportunity for members of the Search and Rescue to either update or learn about avalanche safety to make sure when they're out helping others they're as safe as possible and can keep their partners safe. I think that kind of reflects his personality and how he thought about his folks."
According to the "Weir Family Warriors" Facebook page, people can help in the ways listed below:
“To donate to the bank account:
Checks payable to Becky Cushing
Mail to: P.O. Box 306, Ulm, MT 59485
Venmo donations: @Weir-Warriors
Cards and care packages for Jen and family can be mailed to:
P.O. Box 306
Ulm, MT 59485
Cards and care packages for Wes & Wakely can be mailed to:
Harborview Medical Center
C/o Wes or Wakely Weir, Room 901, 902
325 9th Ave
Seattle, WA 98104"