From the Deseret News
By Morgan Jacobsen, Deseret News
NORTH SALT LAKE — Edgardo and Elena Utrilla, along with their children and grandchildren, will never get back their home of three years after it crumbled in Tuesday’s landslide.
But the community has given them cause to hope for the next best thing.
Scott Kjar, vice president of EaglePointe Development, announced Friday an initiative to provide a lot and to build a new house for the Utrilla family. The development, owned by Sky Properties, is heading the cause and asked community members to contribute.
“We have a value of bearing one another’s burdens,” Kjar said. “Today, we’re here to ask you to help us to bear their burdens … to get them a home.”
The family says the inherent risk of living on a steep hillside is one they’re willing to accept again to continue living alongside the neighbors with whom they’ve become close friends, especially in recent days.
For the family, the priority is to be close to the neighbors,” David Utrilla said. “For them, that is the family, too. They don’t want to be separated from their family.”
The developer will provide a lot — valued at about $130,000 — and is raising funds to offset the cost of a $500,000 home, according to Kjar.
The city plans to host a benefit golf tournament at the Eaglewood Golf Course on Sept. 26 in support of the Utrilla family.
Those who wish to contribute can do so at utrillafamily.com or through the Utrilla Family Relief Fund at America First Credit Union.
“Our commitment is to get them a home,” Kjar said. “We invite everyone to help out and participate.”
EaglePointe would head similar initiatives should the three other displaced families be permanently unable to move back into their homes, he said.
Until then, the developer is providing temporary housing for the four families.
Community members have also stepped forward in meeting the immediate needs of everyone affected, Utrilla said.
“We have a lot of words of gratitude to our neighbors and our friends,” he said. “Such an overwhelming number of people calling, emailing, asking, ‘How can we help?'”
Janice Nielson, Relief Society president of a neighboring LDS Church ward, said members have provided meals, clothing and bedding for the families.
“People were very, very willing and very quick in their responses,” Nielson said. “It was a large outpouring of care. They’re very mindful of one another, very united that way.”
Utrilla said the family contacted their insurance company on the day of the slide to see if their home or anything inside of it would be covered.
“The insurance agent came and looked at it, and they notified us a couple of days ago that there is nothing they can do. There is no money that they can pay for anything,” he said.
Kjar said crews will attempt to salvage as much from the Utrilla’s home as possible when it’s deemed safe to begin removing the remains.
While the family looks forward to a new home, much of what was lost can’t be replaced.
“There are a lot of (photographs), journals, things that have passed from one generation to another that are material of course, but you can’t replace that,” Utrilla said of his parents’ home. “Everything they have has been buried there in that home.”
Crews installed a road onto the slide Thursday and will install monitoring equipment over the weekend to gather information critical to forming a construction plan.
David Utrilla’s mother, Elena, sat quietly through the announcement of what was to come for her and her family. But a smile revealed her hope in overcoming a loss that, at times, has been overwhelming.
“I’ve been able to see the hands of many angels that have helped us. … I feel very happy and at peace, and that the Lord is with me,” Elena Utrilla said in Spanish. “It’s too much, the love of this community.”