Operation Kodi

By Sarah Pridgeon

In Kodi Tarno’s time of need, her friends and community are rallying to provide support as she undergoes treatment for stage four cancer. Groups from Hulett, Sundance and beyond have launched fundraising efforts to help her with the financial repercussions of the diagnosis, from dinners and raffles to bake sales.

“She needed help – how could you not jump in with both feet? She would do it for us,” says Tina Simpson, Tarno’s colleague at WYDOT Construction, Maintenance and Equipment, where the fundraising drive began.

“We wanted her to know that our WYDOT crews were there to help her out.”

A strong community spirit has led Tarno to become a familiar face around WYDOT, but also to participate in emergency response for the community in Hulett as an EMT and firefighter.

“She is a kind, gentle soul with a smile that will light up a room. She loves to give people a hard time – once she gets to know you,” describes Simpson.

“If there was anything you needed that she could help you with, she would be right there to do it. She is a real go-getter and hard worker and she also makes beautiful jewelry – she is very talented.”

The WYDOT department has launched a benefit raffle for Tarno with prizes including firearms, beef and a pre-paid credit card. Tickets are available from the Sundance WYDOT office and Corner Market in Hulett for $10 each, or six for $50, and checks should be made payable to “Kodi Tarno Donation”.

Meanwhile, the Hulett and Sundance fire and EMS departments are sponsoring “Operation Kodi Fundraiser” on April 22 at the Adema’s barn on Sunny Divide, Sundance (1866 Hwy 14). Plans are not yet complete, but the event is expected to include a silent and live auction, raffles, door prizes, cook-offs and a bake sale.

Bank accounts have also been set up in Tarno’s name at Sundance State Bank and Summit National Bank. A Go Fund Me account is available at https://www.gofundme.com/kodi-tarnos-medical-fund.

Outside Crook County, a benefit dinner will be held in Alzada, Montana on June 17 and the Hair Gallery in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, will host a cut-a-thon on April 15 with all proceeds going to Tarno.

The funds raised will help Tarno with the expenses of treatment at the Mayo Clinic and Rapid City Regional Hospital, including travel costs and insurance deductibles. It is also intended to assist her with the ongoing personal bills she must cover while in treatment, says Simpson.

“Life still goes on when you are sick, bills don’t stop because you are sick,” she says.

“She needs to concentrate on getting better, not worrying about how she’s going to pay for transport to the Mayo Clinic or motel rooms or doctor bills. She needs to worry about herself.”