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Columbine spurs odd donations

Unborn foal among gifts in response to tragedy

By Holly Kurtz
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer


After the April 20 Columbine tragedy, people around the world opened their pocketbooks, their hearts and ... their barnyards.

A foal conceived April 20 is one of the many unusual offerings in hundreds of donations called into the Spirit of Columbine Tribute Center in Golden since the shootings.

From Enterprise, Ala., came 4,000 window decals. From a high school in Japan came a string of 1,000 origami cranes -- one of 20 sent since the tragedy.

And in Pahrump, Nev., an appaloosa/quarter horse mare named Fannie is pregnant with a foal named Columbine.

Fannie's owner, Judith Barnett, the mother of a 10-year-old boy, was devastated by the tragedy. Maybe, she thought, the foal, which would fetch about $1,500 if sold, could bring peace to people by grazing near the school.

"Horses," she said, "are a beautiful thing. I thought, wouldn't it be nice if that horse looks at all those people. I wanted her to be a mascot."

No one has accepted Barnett's donation yet.

No one has taken Sandi Mariano up on her offer either. She opened not only her heart but her Buffalo, N.Y., home.

To anyone who needs to get away, Mariano says come on over. It's not much. But there are four bedrooms and the sandy shores of Lake Erie are nearby.

Most of the people who made donations are like Mariano and Barnett. They're not famous. They're not rich. They just want to help.

There's the maid who offered to clean the victims' homes. There are the massage therapists who offered to rub students' shoulders.

Among those who got a quick "no thanks" were the quilter who wanted snippets of the victims' clothes to use for bedcovers, the artist who wanted shards left behind after the shoootings for stained glass and the woman who wanted to give each Columbine senior an 11-by-17-inch poster of the 13 who were killed.

One Columbine graduate got permission from his commanding officer to fly a military helicopter over the school to celebrate opening day Aug. 16th.

He got a no-thanks, too.

The noise, DeLockroy pointed out, might bring back bad memories of the April 20 rescue efforts.

And in Pahrump, Judith Barnett hopes her empathy will get to the people of Columbine, even if her foal does not.

"We're just little people here in Pahrump," she said. "We're not nothing. We're just concerned."

September 7, 1999