Port Angeles concert to help pay for toddler's burial

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES –– A benefit concert to raise funds to help the family bury the ashes of a 2-year-old boy who died in a house fire last year is planned for Saturday night.

Evan Daniel Bellis was killed after an accidental fire burned his family's home at Diamond Point.

The family still is trying to raise enough money to have his ashes buried in Mount Angeles Memorial Park in Port Angeles.

Jeffrey Bellis, the boy's father, said the family has paid about $1,200 of the burial costs to the funeral home but still needs $280 to have his ashes buried in the cemetery.

“It's hard enough we don't have him anymore. Now, I'm just trying to get him buried,” Jeffrey Bellis said, “so we can have a place to go and talk to him and tell him happy birthday.”

Evan's ashes have been stored at Sequim Valley Funeral Chapel.

New home

Jeffrey Bellis said the family is set to move into a new home Saturday.

They have been living in a hotel since the March 9, 2012, fire, exchanging maintenance work for rent.

“It's been a struggle, man, for my whole family,” Jeffrey Bellis said. “It seems like it happened yesterday”

Jeffrey Bellis received severe burns after going back into the burning house to try to save his son.

He spent four days being treated at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for burns to the back and arms.

The boy's mother, Heather Cary, and 4-year-old brother Jaden safely fled the blaze.

Band of support

“I can't even imagine what they're going through,” said Eric Lawton, a former member of the once-defunct country-rock band the 8 Second Ride.

Once a rising band in the Peninsula music scene, Lawton's group broke up about four years ago but has reunited to help the Bellis family.

“We heard about it and decided we had to do whatever we could. This seemed like a good way to get some money together to help them give their boy a proper burial,” Lawton said.

The concert will be held Saturday at Castaways Restaurant, 1213 Marine Drive in Port Angeles.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. A $5 cover will be donated to the Bellis family, with more donations accepted at the event.

The Jimmy Hoffman Band is scheduled to open the night's concert.

Jeffrey Bellis said his family appreciates the concert.

He said he hopes a burial will provide the family with a sense of closure.

“We'll never be fully OK. A part of us is gone,” he said.

“But we're alive still. And we have to go on and take care of each other. There's just no giving up.”

________

Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 16. 2013 5:59PM
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