TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Former Reserve Twin Falls Sheriff Deputy Jared Giles fell off the Canyon Rim in early December, which resulted in severe injuries and the amputation of his right foot and ankle.
Following Giles' accident, a group of Jared's friends and other community members decided to organize a fundraiser to show their support.
“The people that know Jared, know what kind of person he is and how much he has done for the community," said Perry Barnhill, one of the organizers of the fundraiser. "It was time we did something back for Jared.”
When Jared was first told of the idea for a fundraiser in his honor, he was reluctant as he had never been on the receiving end of such a large-scale effort and because he typically tries to help others in need.
“I’ve helped other friends in the past, with not similar situations but with benefits and other things, and my wife and I donate to charities," said Giles. "To be honest, it was hard to accept the help.”
Organizing the event took several weeks to plan, and it finally took place this past Saturday at the Twin Falls County Fairgrounds. For the team that helped put the fundraiser in motion, it exceeded all of their expectations.
“People just kept walking in the door, over and over, and over, and we thought, good god, what did we create here? This was not supposed to be this big," said Barnhill. "This was not supposed to end up like this.”
Giles was also overwhelmed and was extremely grateful for such a large turnout of people from the community.
“Friends that I haven’t seen in a long time, family that I haven’t seen in a long time that came to support," said Giles. "Again, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. This is way more than I deserve and way more than I could’ve asked for.”
Giles' wife, Crystal Giles, was also very appreciative of everyone who attended and put the fundraiser together for such a memorable experience.
“It’s time out of their work, it’s time out of their lives, it’s time out of spending time with their family, and it’s mind-blowing," said Crystal. "I am truly humbled by the amount that’s been given in donations, in time, in just, concern and love and support.”
Crystal also noted how valuable of a moment this was for Giles' recovery process and being able to thank others face to face.
“When his accident happened, his world stopped," said Crystal. "Everybody else's continued, but for him, it just stopped. So, to see him engaging and doing this, his world is turning again, he’s getting back there, and he’s doing his thing, and I love it.”
For Jared, one of the major takeaways from the event was to give thanks to the first responders who helped him out of the canyon.
“It’s been very emotional, and it’s been amazing," said Giles. "I’ll be forever grateful for what they did and their quick work and saving my life.”
After such a tremendous display of communal support and even some people who came from out of state, everyone that was involved in organizing the fundraiser is thankful.
“The people," said Barnhill. They opened their wallets, they opened their hearts, it was just amazing.”
A total of 100% of the proceeds from the event will go towards Jared's medical expenses. Although the full amount earned from the fundraiser could not be disclosed, Barnhill shared that the fundraiser was an "overwhelming success."