Less than two weeks after the disappearance and death of Lori Bray, the Laurel community is coming together to celebrate her life.
A candle light vigil is scheduled for Sunday night, and silent auction and dinner in Laurel is set for Oct. 19. Proceeds will go to Bray's family to cover funeral arrangements.
"We want to make sure we can lay her to rest in a nice way, and that her son isn't stuck with the financial burden," longtime friend and organizer Shannon Plotner said.
Initially Plotner set up a Gofundme.com account to benefit Bray's son, Justin Smith, and to cover funeral arrangements. But fundraising efforts have grown as more people have expressed interest in helping Bray's family and the Laurel community.
"There's been such an outpouring of help from Red Lodge, to northern Montana, to all across the U.S.," she said. Bray was active in many animal shelters and rescue organizations that have since contacted her, Plotner added.
"A lot of those people have donated money or reached out and said they could tell she was an angel and the most wonderful and nicest person they’d encountered," she said.
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A candlelight vigil will be held for Bray at Riverside Park in Laurel on Sunday beginning at 7 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to come and “light up one of her favorite places.” Bray often took her two dogs, Nikki and Mac, to the park, event organizers said on Facebook.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, there will be a fundraiser and silent auction at Fat Fender Freddy's, at 1517 U.S. Highway 212 in Laurel.
Activities begin at 4 p.m. with cocktails. A silent auction will take place from 5 to 8 p.m., and there will be a 50-50 raffle. Donations for the silent auction can go to Tanna Dailey or Jessie Ellison via Facebook.
The event is family-friendly, with face-painting and pumpkin decorating for kids. Music will feature some of Bray's favorite songs, Plotner said.
A spaghetti and salad dinner with dessert will be provided with a suggested donation of $8 for adults and $4 for children, she said.