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For three years, a group of Malibu dads have come together for a holiday get-together, donating to Toys for Tots.
This year, the men instead turned their philanthropic attention to one of their own, chipping in to raise money for Pavel Kurial, a father of two (Filip, 12, and Martin, 9) who lost his home on Yerba Buena Road to the Woolsey Fire.
It was Kurial’s first time at the gathering, held Dec. 9 at Ollie’s Duck & Dive, but he was in good company, surrounded by about 45 men, some of whom he knew through school and work.
“I was surprised,” Kurial said in a Dec. 14 phone interview. “There was a lot of dads there, and a lot of support.”
Several of the men donated to a GoFundMe page (www.gofundme.com/rebuild-kurial039s-home) created in Kurial’s honor, though event organizer Steve Clarke noted that the fund had “a healthy balance” prior to the gathering. As of Monday, Dec. 17, the GoFundMe had raised $27,710, surpassing its $25,000 goal.
Kurial said his family was able to take some clothing, photo albums and documents before evacuating from Malibu, but many of their valuables were lost to the flames. The donations will go toward replacing items they lost, he said, and any leftover funds will go into his children’s savings accounts.
Kurial said his family hopes to rebuild a home in Malibu, which they have called home for about 15 years, on and off. Meanwhile, the family is staying with a friend in Malibu while Kurial continues to run his plumbing business, Pavel’s Plumbing.
Pavel’s wife, Jana Kurial, died last July after a battle with cancer. After her passing, she was honored by the Juan Cabrillo Elementary School community which created the Jana Kurial Citizenship Award as an ode to her dedication to her children and their school.
Last year and this year, the Kurials have been surrounded by a strong, supportive community.
“At this point, I think we are in very good shape,” Kurial said, when asked if the family had any immediate needs. “We are fine now.”