by Scott Neuffer

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December 17, 2012
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North Sails comforts one of their own in wake of school shooting

A mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday has reminded employees at a Minden sail factory how small and fragile the world really is.

"As the events unfolded on Friday, I, like everyone else, was glued to the TV," said Jeff Holden, master scheduler of North Sails. "On Saturday, we received an email from the corporate office informing us that in fact (co-worker Brian Engel's) daughter had been killed ... I grieved with everyone else, and then I figured out what I could do to make a difference."

According to Holden, Brian Engel is the manager of cloth and materials at North Sails' manufacturing facility in Milford, Conn. His six-year-old daughter, Olivia Rose Engel, was among 20 small children killed when a deranged gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and opened fire in a classroom of first-graders.

"I personally know Brian," Holden said Monday morning. "As master scheduler, I work with him on a weekly basis on materials and other things."

Discovering his personal connection to a tragedy that has shocked the nation, Holden said he was overwhelmed with a desire to help.

"Everyone has that mindset - What can I do to help?" he said. "It's especially true in a tight-knit community like Carson Valley. People can make a difference, and at least help this one family. I want to give people that outlet."

On Thursday, North Sails will be accepting monetary donations, cash and checks, between noon and 6 p.m. in the front lobby of their Minden facility, 2379 Heybourne Road.

Additionally, Coffee on Main will be accepting monetary donations throughout the week at both locations: 1572 Highway 395, Minden; and 795 Tillman Lane, Gardnerville Ranchos.

"Rest assured, this money will go directly to one of the families," Holden said. "You can give $5 or $10, whatever you feel like you want to give. We'll take all the money and send it to Brian."

Holden said the family needs it.

"They have another child who was in the school," he said. "A little boy who will grow up the rest of his life wondering what happened to his sister. He's going to need therapy and counseling and everything else."

Holden believes the fundraiser will be cathartic for anyone frustrated by such senseless violence.

"This is an outlet," he said. "The family needs it. They're going to need the help for a long time."

A web page has been set up in Olivia's memory at

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The Record Courier Updated Dec 17, 2012 06:02PM Published Dec 17, 2012 04:27PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.