Desiree Sidwell says daughter ‘just had such a sweet spirit’

Posted at 9:58 PM, Aug 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-20 00:13:20-04

Panguith family mourns the death Oaklee Sidwell, killed in a freak trampoline accident.

PANGUITCH – The parents of a 9-year-old girl who died in a trampoline accident last week opened up about the daughter they lost to an unpredictable tragedy.

Oaklee Sidwell was playing with some cousins on a trampoline when a sudden gust of wind sent the trampoline flying, with Oaklee still on top.

“After that they’re not really sure what had happened, it all happened too fast,” said Desiree Sidwell, Oaklee’s mom. “We’d taken her to Garfield Memorial Hospital where they got her stable enough to fly her to Primary Children’s. She just struggled so hard for life there.”

Oaklee was the only one on the trampoline at the time. It’s an unusual accident because the trampoline was buried to ground level and had a safety net.

Oaklee is the youngest of the Sidwell’s three children, and the only girl. Desiree says her daughter was known for being outdoors and loved fishing, shooting and caring for animals.

“She just had such a sweet spirit about her that everybody adored,” Desiree Sidwell said.

Oaklee’s passing has left not only her family, but the entire community in mourning. Oaklee’s dad, Tracy Sidwell said they find a small comfort knowing there wasn’t anything they could have done to stop the tragedy.

“It wasn’t any human error” Tracy Sidwell said. “God needed her for something right then. And I think she’s doing bigger things than we could even imagine.”

Oaklee was known throughout the county through accompanying her father on his U.S. postal route. Neighbors tied pink ribbons on the fence surrounding their property, and close to a thousand people showed up to the viewing and funeral to pay their respects.

An act that doesn’t surprise Garfield County, commissioner Leland Pollock said.

“Everyone knows each other and it’s small and we all pull together,” says Pollock.

The community has already put together a number of fundraisers to help the Sidwells. A fund has been set up at Zion’s Bank under the Sidwell’s name. Tracy Sidwell says it’s that support that’s getting them through.

“If it wasn’t for family and friends and our religion, I don’t know how you could get through something like this,” Tracy Sidwell said. “The community has been unreal, love and support.”

Oaklee had just turned 9 last month, and was recently baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.