Families Dedicate Memorial Barn at McHenry County Fairgrounds

Dedication for memorial barn honoring Grant Fruin, Kevin Ziller and Jennifer Kearns is planned at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1 at the McHenry County Fairgrounds, 11900 Country Club Road in Woodstock.


Grant Fruin, Kevin Ziller and Jennifer Kearns were 4-H kids from rural Huntley who spent every summer at the McHenry County Fair.

The three childhood friends grew up going back and forth from their families’ farms and were active in the Huntley Pioneer 4-H Club.

Each one met with a tragic death.

Fifteen-year-old Grant died suddenly in August 2009.

Kevin, 21, died in a car accident in July 2010.

Earlier this year, Jennifer died in a car accident. She was 19 years old.

The close-knit Ziller, Fruin and Kearns families each suffered the loss of a child but turned to each other and the community to memorialize their “little angels.”

The families are ready to unveil the renovated livestock barns at the McHenry County Fairgrounds on the first day of the fair, Aug. 1, in honor of Kevin, Grant and Jennifer. A ceremony will be held at 6 p.m.

The Ziller family had received memorials following their son’s funeral and had been talking about doing some sort of memorial along with the Fruin family, said Dan Ziller.

, her family also received donations

The three families decided, with encouragement from other community members, to renovate the livestock barn.

“We started going out in the community and talking to different people and it was overwhelming,” Ziller said. “The support was there to do this, we just ran with it.”

“The community is the reason this happening,” Ziller said.

Wednesday’s ceremony is a way for the three families to thank everyone who supported the project either by donating money, or material or their time and labor, he said.

The barn will be dedicated to future 4-H kids, he said.

“It’s like I told several people, all three kids would have been there to help do this,” Ziller said.

The Ziller family will at the fair all week, showing livestock. And the memory of their son will be close, as it has been throughout the project. Ziller said the project brought him comfort.

“It was rewarding to be there making this happen,” he said.


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