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Summer Fest Benefits Local Family

The Idaho Falls community is coming together to give a local family a fresh start after their only children and grand children were killed in their Ammon home last May.

Almost four months after the Kern family tragedy, we sat down with the family to see what they are doing to give back to the community that has rallied around them.

May 13 changed Mike and Bobby Kern’s life forever. Gaylin Leirmoe killed his children, Jack, 3 and Gage, 9 months, their mother, Michelle, 23 and her sister Malinda, 19 before he lit the house on fire and took his own life.

Despite this horror, the Kerns are determined to make lives better.

“You can be a victim or you can make a difference,? Mike Kern said.

While it has been a hard four months, Mike said he and his wife Roberta “Bobby” are doing well.

“The first step is accepting what happened because it is still hard to grasp at times,? Mike Kern said. ?Then it gives you the opportunity to move forward.”

“To this day, every day I feel as though the community has walked with us side by side from the day of our tragedy,? Bobby Kern said.

“The support we’ve received from our tragedy has been incredible,” Mike Kern said.

To help raise awareness against domestic violence, Breaking Boundaries and The Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center are hosting Summer Fest.

While they hope to make it an annual event, this year’s proceeds will be donated to the Kern family to help them find a new home.

In memory of the lives lost, Mike and Bobby Kern are sharing their story to help others recognize the signs before its too late.

“Our hope is we want the community to become educated. We want victims to become safer and in that process a celebration of what was lost turns into hope that we won’t have this again,? Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center Director Teena McBride said. ?Not only do victims need to know the services that are available in the community, the community in general needs to know when there is a relationship putting someone in danger.”

If you know of someone who may be in an abusive relationship McBride said it’s good to be a support for a friend.

“Your initial outreach may be rejected, but at the same time that person may say later I can go back to this person. They are going to understand because they saw it before I did,? McBride said. ?Where you may have been rejected earlier on you may become the support they rely on later should and when they decided they need to find some sort of service to help them with this relationship.?

After so many cards, phone calls and concerned neighbors, the Kerns said it is time they embrace the community that has embraced them.

“Now that you know what we look like, we would love to meet you,? Mike Kern said It’s an opportunity for us too. I never used to hug. I hug now. Anyone that likes to hug, come on up.”

Summer Fest goes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday on Memorial Drive in Idaho Falls.

For more details on Summer Fest, visit

Memorial Drive between E Street and B Street will be closed Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate Summer Fest.

The Idaho Falls Police Department asks the public to move their cars from the area by 6 a.m. on Saturday. Vehicles left here after that time will be subject to impound at the owner?s expense.

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