Benefit to celebrate life of Highcliff Elementary fifth-grader
Neighbors of Highcliff Elementary fifth-grader Kyle Rozman are organizing a fundraiser to celebrate his life and raise money to help his family with interment costs.
Kyle, 11, of Ross Township, died from injuries he suffered in a vehicle crash Jan. 3 in Springdale Township. Allegheny County police initially said a slippery road might have been a factor and were not releasing additional information as of this edition's deadline.
Together with representatives of Kyle's church and other local organizations, neighbor and family friend Pam Eshenbaugh is planning a fundraiser for 1 p.m. Feb. 8 at Christ Lutheran Church, 157 Peony Ave. in Ross. The event will feature live entertainment, as well as a Chinese auction and bake sale. All proceeds will benefit Kyle's family to help pay for interment costs.
Organizers hope to raise $9,000.
“My neighbors and church have just been amazing,” said Kyle's father, Don Rozman.
Eshenbaugh remembers Kyle as a funny and bright boy who was excited about learning to play the guitar.
“He was very intelligent,” Eshenbaugh said. “He was always three steps ahead of everyone else.”
Eshenbaugh's family lives two houses up from Rozman's father on Mulkerin Drive, and her daughters, Katie, a sixth-grader at Highcliff, and Patty, an eighth-grader at North Hills Middle School, spent time with Kyle and Kyle's 12-year-old sister, Mya Bell.
“It's been amazing how people have pulled together,” Eshenbaugh said.
During Kyle's last guitar lesson the day before he died, he was learning to play Led Zeppelin's “Stairway to Heaven,” Eshenbaugh said.
Award-winning local guitarist Mike Palone, of the band Skell, volunteered to perform the song at the fundraiser.
Rozman said Kyle loved music.
“He was incredible on guitar. He was looking to be a rock star,” Rozman said. “He was an amazing kid.”
The North Star Kids, a local youth song-and-dance troupe, also will entertain at the benefit.
A Second Chance Inc., a nonprofit agency that works with children who are being cared for by a relative or family friend, will send an employee who will perform gospel music. The organization also made a $1,500 donation to the Rozman family, which is fostering a child involved with the program.
Rozman said that once interment costs are covered, he is working with his church, Ridgewood Church in West View, to establish a nonprofit called K-Dogs Kidz. K-Dog was Kyle's nickname.
He hopes to provide underprivileged children opportunities to participate in activities Kyle loved, such as guitar and karate lessons, or helps someone achieve Kyle's dream of becoming a marine biologist.
Donations to help the Rozman family also can be made directly to D'Alessandro Funeral Home & Crematory Ltd., 4522 Butler St., Pittsburgh, PA 15201.
Kelsey Shea is a staff writer at Trib Total Media. Reach her at email@example.com or at 724-772-6353.