MONTROSE - When called upon for last-minute help after the Haiti earthquake, the Colorado Yurt Co. didn’t hesitate.

“It started back a couple days after the earthquake, when I got a call from a friend,” said Sam Kigar, whose parents, Dan and Emma Kigar, own the Colorado Yurt Co. in Montrose.

Kigar’s friend was working with the nonprofit University of Scranton Medical School Alumni Association in Pennsylvania, which has a program that sends volunteer doctors to Haiti.

But when the earthquake struck, the doctors, like many others, had no place to live. So they sought out Colorado Yurt Co. help.

“They needed them soon,” Kigar said. “They contacted me Friday and needed them Tuesday. We don’t usually stock tents, so I walked into the bosses’ office … and there they were, trying to figure out how to get tents to Haiti. It turned out to be the perfect situation.”

The company got to work right away designing a tent that made sense. It needed to be used by doctors for both office and living quarters, said Marketing Manager Jennie Redwine. It needed to be light enough to carry on a plane as luggage, yet strong and waterproof for protection from the upcoming rainy season.

Although the tents are used by doctors and other relief workers, they’ll leave the tents for Haitians when they go.

The first four tents that traveled to Haiti with the alumni doctors were 7-by-7 feet and 7 feet tall. All four sides have mosquito netting with lightweight sides that roll down for privacy and a heavy-duty roof.

Then Colorado Yurt got feedback that the tents needed floors. So four floored tents were sent to the Colorado Haiti Project and four more went to Fireside International, which uses them for homeless educators who are working to get schools up and running again. If more tents can be made, Partners in Health is next in line.

Each tent costs about $625, Redwine said. Colorado Yurt Co. is trying to raise about $460 per tent and is donating the remaining $165 per tent.

Through social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, and by asking friends, the company has raised some money, Kigar said.

On Friday, Kigar’s Crested Butte musician friend, Lila Hamsell, is helping to raise more.

The Haiti Benefit and Concert is from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at the Colorado Yurt Co., 28 West S. Fourth St. in Montrose. Hamsell will play in the company’s 30-foot yurt, and Ridgway’s Colorado Boy has donated a keg of beer. There is no door charge. The company only asks for donations to help offset its costs and, with luck, send more tents to Haiti.

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Thank you for the great article! just a slight correction: the musician's name is spelled Lila Hemsell. Her music can be heard at drumbird.bandcamp.comhope to see you out on friday night!--Sam Kigar

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