Small-town support a big comfort to Pagliaro family |

Small-town support a big comfort to Pagliaro family

Scott Franz

Nicholas Pagliaro

— Small-town generosity is a big comfort to the Pagliaro family on these dark days.

As she mourns the death of her 14-year-old nephew Nicholas this week, Valerie Pagliaro said the support of friends and strangers has overwhelmed her family in a good way.

"People are opening up their hearts and their houses to us," the Danbury, Conn., resident said Tuesday. "I’m not used to this small-town feeling. To me, it’s just magnificent."

Nick, a Steamboat Springs High School freshman, was killed Sunday in a rollover crash near Walden. His mother, Peggy, was driving at the time of the crash and was taken to the hospital Sunday night with what were thought to be minor injuries.

Family members said Tuesday that Peggy still is being treated at Yampa Valley Medical Center and that she is getting stronger. They said she could be released as early as Wednesday morning.

The family is waiting until Peggy is able to leave the hospital to finalize memorial service plans for Nick.

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"The family is overwhelmed at the outpouring of support from the community and the school. It has been phenomenal," family friend Robin Hanley said.

Hanley said anyone who wants to send condolences, photos and memories to the family can email

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Nick Pagliaro Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank to benefit Steamboat Springs Little League.

And students are coming up with their own ways to support the family.

Community members who want to leave flowers or messages of love and support for the Pagliaros can place them at the Emerald Park baseball fields anytime before 8 p.m. Saturday.

Steamboat Springs High School junior Kelly Limberg, a close friend of Nick and his sister Hanna, decided to organize the memorial event after she talked to Hanna on Monday night.

"She said they are hanging in there," Limberg said. "They’re trying to stay strong, and they also really appreciate all of the support they’ve been getting."

Limberg is encouraging students and community members to pay their respects to Nick by leaving flowers and signed cards and baseballs. She plans to gather the items and take them to the family Saturday night.

"I just want to tell Nick and his family that he meant so much to this community, and he was such a supportive and loving friend," Limberg said. "He always made sure everyone was included. He always had a smile on his face."

Valerie Pagliaro said Nick’s smile as well as his love for sports and the outdoors are what she’s remembering about him this week.

"He could light up a room," she said. "He just had a very big heart."

Nick’s uncle, Rob Pagliaro, said he plans to come to the event at the ball fields with other family members to thank the community for their support.

"Steamboat to me is Nick," he said as he described the boy’s bravery, his love of the outdoors and his eagerness to tackle the hardest ski runs on Mount Werner. "The generosity in this town really makes me know that when I’ve worn out my welcome here and I have to go back home, my family here is going to be taken care of."

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

If you go

What: Nick Pagliaro memorial event

Where: Emerald Park baseball fields

When: Saturday until 8 p.m.