in memory of Marie, Devin and Cole Gemmell
Nearly six years ago, a December morning started normally for Ken Gemmell and his family. Sadly, a few hours later, tragedy struck when a private jet crashed into the family’s Gaithersburg home, killing Ken’s wife, Marie, and their two young sons. The Montgomery County community rallied to support Ken and his daughter, Arabelle, who was at school the morning of the accident.
Among the supporters who quickly reached out to Ken and his daughter was Nancy Richardson, owner of Bar-T, where Arabelle attended an after school program. Nancy, a long-time member of CaringMatters’ Board of Directors, personally met with Arabelle several times a week to offer support and comfort. As summer approached, Nancy suggested that Arabelle attend Camp Erin, CaringMatters’ weekend grief camp for children and teens.
“Camp Erin helped Arabelle understand that she wasn’t the only one who had lost a loved one. The circumstances of the loss might be different, but she wasn’t alone in her experience,” said Ken. “Her Big Buddy at camp guided her through the grief process and helped her see how she could build resilience and help herself.”
Since Ken’s daughter attended Camp Erin, Ken became an engaged volunteer and a generous donor of CaringMatters. He acknowledges that it’s been a long and difficult process navigating his loss, but has found renewed purpose in helping others in the community.
When Ken met his wife, Amy, they bonded over their shared experiences with grief. Amy’s first husband died when she was pregnant with their son, Bennett. Ken believes this bond empowered them to do more good together than they would have been able to do alone.
In addition to supporting CaringMatters, Ken and Amy raised money and helped completely refurbish a Gaithersburg playground in honor of Marie, Cole and Devin. They also created endowed scholarships at Rowan University and the University of Maryland in their honor and at the University of Pittsburg for TR Randolph, Bennett’s father. For his compassionate spirit and support of grieving children, Ken Gemmell is the recipient of CaringMatters’ 2020 Legacy Award in memory of Marie, Cole, and Devin Gemmell.