By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Good deed destroyed in flames

Ann Coleman s commercial grill was a total loss. Submitted photo.
Ann Coleman's commercial grill was a total loss. Submitted photo.

“She’s been cooking as long as I can remember,” Abell said. “Ask anyone in Dayton. She’s amazing. And I’m not just a biased daughter.”

A caterer by trade, Coleman was spreading the love at a Dayton Christian Church barbecue following last Sunday’s graveside service for Army National Guard Pfc. Alexander Blake Klass of Willamina. The 2018 Willamina High School graduate died July 4 in an accident while serving in Kosovo.

Coleman arrived at the church with her $10,000 Traeger commercial trailer grill. They’re designed to bake, barbecue, braise, grill and smoke, according to the company website.

Then disaster struck. Coleman’s trailer, which can hold up to 224 chicken quarters and accommodate rib racks, turkeys and even a hog, caught fire and was destroyed.

James Klass, the soldier’s father, posted the following on his Facebook page:

“I believe my son, who is now passed on, being a vegetarian, may have looked down and not approved of the menu I picked and had a hand in this.”

Coleman offered a wonderful meal because she wanted to do something to honor Klass’ son. To have it all go up in flames and smoke was devastating to everyone who attended.

“There was a flareup,” Abell said. “My mom shut the door, and it went out. She opened it, got two tri tips off and flames started shooting out. All the food caught fire. The door melted. The internal stuff is destroyed.”

Abell initiated the “Help Support Ann Coleman’s Catering Fundraiser” on Facebook. She set a goal of $7,000, and as of Wednesday, about $5,500 had been raised.

James Klass posted another Facebook message:

“Ann did an amazing job at my son’s funeral reception and was professional and kind even when she had just lost her whole setup for her catering business.”

Abell said her mother felt “mortified and embarrassed” by what happened, as her intention was to do something special for the Klass family.

“She told me, ‘What I lost was a material item. What they lost …,’” Abell’s voice trailed off.

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