LA JARA — A rural farming community on the southern edge of the San Luis Valley has come together to support the Cornum family after a tragic rollover on Aug. 15 that took the life of Taj Cornum, 20, and put Taven Cornum, 16, in the hospital fighting for his life.
A Go Fund Me account was set up to help the family with funeral and medical expenses and as of Friday morning, Aug. 20, had raised $24,500 thanks to 226 donations since being set up three days ago by Carson Cornum, surpassing its $20,000 goal.
Taven was in intensive care but according to Carson’s post on the Go Fund Me account was “getting better by the day.”
“As you, all great friends and family know Taj left us on the 16th,” Carson Cornum posted. “We have not yet set a date for his funeral. Taven is getting better by the day but has a long hard road ahead of him. I wish I could give each and every one of you a hug of gratitude. So, I hope the text will be good enough for now, until I can give you a hug in person. Thanks for all your love and prayers. I will try to update as often as I can, God bless and thank you all from my family to yours.”
Taven Cornum was entering his sophomore year at Centauri High School in La Jara. The first day of school was Aug. 18. He was listed as a defensive tackle and offensive tackle as a freshman on the Falcons team that went 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the 1A Southern Peaks league. Centauri dominated its regular-season opponents, outscoring teams 348-15 and posting four shutouts.
CHS seeded sixth, opened the 1A state playoffs with an upset 20-17 win over third-seeded Florence, and fell to second-seeded Strasburg, 24-17, in the semifinals.
CHS was ranked third in the 1A football preseason rankings released Aug. 19. The Falcons received four first-place votes.
In addition to the Go Fund Me account, the CHS football team turned its annual potato bar dinner into a benefit fundraiser for the Cornum family on Aug. 19 at Centauri Middle School.
“The Cornum family is a big part of our Centauri football family so please come out and support them,” CHS football coach Kyle Forster posted Aug. 16 on the Centauri Football Facebook page.
People and sports teams from across the Valley supported the fundraiser dinner. The Monte Vista High School football team attended.
Forster posted photos from the benefit event and thanked the community for its support.
“We want to give a huge thank you to all the wonderful community members, parents, all the restaurants that donated chili (Dos Rios, Ninos in Monte, Wagon Wheel, Juanitos, Dutch Mill, Dos Hermanas, and Scotty's restaurant in La Jara), Grower Shipper for donating the potatoes, Monte Vista Coop, Valley Meat, Chilis, City Market for the cake and doughnuts, local teams, Centauri staff, Centauri students, and Centauri football members for the best potato dinner that we have ever had,” Forster posted on Facebook. “I know that the Cornum family will feel blessed with all the support that was given. We as coaches were in awe with everything that happened tonight and all the people that were so willing to offer to help and donate. In this time of tragedy, it is great to see the amount of love this community has shown. We are stronger together!”
According to Colorado State Patrol, the crash happened at approximately 9:06 p.m. on Aug. 15. A 2011 Chevy Cruze driven by Taj Cornum of Alamosa, was traveling westbound on Colorado 370, near Alamosa County Road 105.
The Chevy traveled off the right side of the roadway and the driver overcorrected causing the vehicle to travel back across the roadway as it began to rotate counterclockwise, CSP reported. The Chevy continued off the left side of the roadway colliding with a dirt embankment and then rolling one complete time.
The driver and juvenile passenger sustained serious bodily injury and were transported by ambulance to the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center, CSP reported.
Drugs and alcohol were not a contributing factor in the crash, CSP reported.
Centauri football was scrimmaging Florence on Friday, Aug. 20, and opens its season with a non-league game at home against Wray on Aug. 27. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
To donate to the Go Fund Me account, visit online www.gofundme.com and search “Funeral and medical expenses for Taj and Taven.”