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King County Sheriff's officers and other emergency officials work along Highway 2 near the Stevens Pass ski resort, near where three skiers were killed in an avalanche Feb. 19, 2012. (AP image)

John Curley: A heartwarming tale of generosity

Hanging next to the door at John Curley's house is a sign that says "be kind, be strong, be funny when you can." It's the "mission statement" the family tries to live by everyday. On Thursday's edition of "Seattle's Morning News, Curley shared a heartwarming story about seeing total strangers put that philosophy into action.

It happened at a charity auction in Leavenworth. About 400 people gathered Wednesday for the benefit to raise money for a memorial to the three expert skiers who died Feb. 19 in an avalanche at Stevens Pass, along with another skier who died in an avalanche a year earlier. Curley was serving as auctioneer.

"And I'm telling you guys, every single item was selling at three times the value. The whole place was crazy to raise as much money as they could for their fallen friends," he said of the close knit community.

One of the hottest items was a custom necklace made specifically for the event in memory of Daniel Zimmermann, Chris Rudolph, Jim Jack, and John Brenan.

As the price kept climbing, bidders dropped out until there were just two women vying for the coveted necklace.

"The bidding got up to $1500, and the woman bid one more time and she stopped. And I went to get her to bid at $1700 and she had this look in her eyes like 'I'm going to lose this,'" Curley says.

It was Brenan's wife. Curley says it pained him to see her losing out on something that meant so much, but it didn't seem meant to be. The other bidder was just too strong.

Curley says Brenan was seemingly devastated. Then came the magic moment.

"Another woman bids against her, takes it from her, and then stands up and says 'it's for you.' I'm telling you the whole place went crazy. Bought it for her and gave it to her, but wanted to make sure she paid as much money she possibly could for this. It was so sweet. And I'm like, 'I love you Leavenworth,'"

Curley says it's the kind of story he hopes to be able to share more often on the show. "It'll make the world a better place," he says.

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com Reporter
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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