GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - After the tragic death of Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, killed in the line of duty at Mount Rainer National Park on New Year's Day, the Grand Canyon community has come together in an effort to help her family.
Ranger Anderson left behind her husband, also a ranger, as well as her one and three-year-old daughters. Anderson served with the National Park Service for 11 years and was well known throughout the Grand Canyon community.
Fundraiser organizer, and Grand Canyon local Lauren Griffioen said the fundraising project has become nationwide, but all started at the Grand Canyon.
"It has been nice to see how the National Park community, those who live or work in or around the parks, come together to take care of our family," Griffioen said.
The Grand Canyon community has organized two benefit dinners and an online auction to assist Anderson's family.
The fundraising committee will be hosting an Italian dinner and music at the Grand Canyon School's multipurpose room on Feb. 23 from 6-8 p.m. Plates are $10 and children under 10 eat free. Free childcare will also be provided.
"We'll also be making a community quilt project with the kids that will be sent to Ranger Anderson's children," Griffioen said. "It's something that we can send the family that says 'the Park Service family loves and cares for you.'"
Organizers are also hosting an online Ebay auction, open until Feb. 23, to coincide with the dinners. Donations have already been generous, and the trust has received some big ticket items including helicopter rides, Phoenix Sun Dog, Coyotes and Diamondback tickets, hotel packages at National Parks, artwork and many of gift certificates, the majority of which are from Grand Canyon and Sedona restaurants and galleries.
The auction's web address is http://stores.ebay.com/ranger-anderson.
To make a direct donation to the trust, visit https://nationalparks.org/margaretanderson.
To find out more about fundraising events, search Online Auction Benefit Fallen Ranger Anderson's Family or Fallen Ranger Anderson on Facebook.