The Deishu’ Tlingit and Haida Community Council donated $20,000 to local causes.
The donation, made May 11 at the council meeting, was $10,000 for Jenae’s Playground, made to Kim Larson, Jenae Larson’s mother, and another $10,000 for David’s Little League Field, made to Paul Carrington of the Little League on behalf of the late David Simmons. Both were in memory of victims of the fatal landslide in December 2020.
Karen Taug, president of the council, noted that the group hadn’t been active for several years. This was a way to help out once again.
“We got it going again two years ago,” Taug said. “We’re trying to improve things in our community for everyone.”
The playground was the perfect candidate for a project to fund, she said
“Jenae’s Playground is a wonderful thing that Jenae’s mom is trying to get done for the community in memory of her daughter,” she said.
Taug said the donation is not for a specific item on the playground, but for the project overall. The playground is slated to cost $668,000, and so far, the project has raised $360,000, including more than $20,000 at a fundraiser held April 1.
Jenae Larson grew up in Haines and was working as the kindergarten teacher when she died in the landslide on Beach Road. Kim Larson said her daughter talked more than once about improving the school playground.
The other $10,000 will be for the T-ball field, which was wiped out by the massive landslide. This donation is in honor of David Simmons, who also lost his life in the slide.
“David … that was something that he did. He would teach T-ball for the Little League here in town. So we did it in memory of David.”
A memorial to Simmons and Larson stands at Picture Point. The memorial, installed July 14. 2022, includes two park benches and a table, along with his personal motto, “Haines is the best place on Earth.”
The council meets once a month, on the second Thursday of the month, but takes a break during the summer.