Bringing positive change to the table

NAMI Far North to host farm-to-table fundraiser in honor of Ethan Murray

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Justine Murray has been running into more hummingbirds than normal. While hiking in the mountains. At her home. At friends’ houses. While visiting the site where her son, Ethan, died.

Courtesy photo.

A friend told her it was Ethan’s way of letting her know he’s “doing fine,” and it’s something Murray has chosen to believe.

Ethan was shot and killed May 4 by a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy. A diagnosed schizophrenic who struggled with drug addiction, the 25-year-old died at a small homeless camp in Spokane Valley. The tragedy inspired Murray to be a more vocal advocate for improved mental health resources.

The local Far North chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness will honor Ethan with a farm-to-table dinner Saturday, Aug. 24 at 5:30 p.m. The dinner will take place at Flowers From the Heart flower farm, located at 1444 Gooby Road in Sandpoint. Tango Cafe owner and chef Judy Colegrove, who knew Ethan, will provide all the cooking for the evening. 

Though NAMI hosted its first farm-to-table dinner last summer, Colegrove spearheaded bringing it back this year in honor of Ethan. A small hummingbird adorns the event’s poster.

“I am touched and honored that Judy had the idea to put this together,” Murray said.

The evening will feature a multi-course gourmet meal and libations from Pend d’Oreille Winery. There will also be silent auction items, including a painting to honor Ethan by local artist Diana Shuppel.

Colegrove described last year’s dinner — which she attended as a guest — as an “amazing experience.”

“The food, the people, the place — that feeling is very special,” she said.

Tickets to the 2019 NAMI Farm-to-Table dinner are $95 per person. All proceeds go toward NAMI’s North Idaho Crisis Services, which offers an after-hours crisis hotline for those seeking help, support and referrals to local mental health services. The line is staffed by licensed mental health professionals and is available 5 p.m.-8 a.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday. NAMI Far North board president Ellie Lizotte said the crisis line costs $6,000 a month to operate, making donations and grants vital to the resource’s success.

To buy tickets to the event, use and search “2019 NAMI Far North Farm to Table.” Those with questions about the event or who want to bid on Schuppel’s painting — which will soon be on display in downtown Sandpoint — should email [email protected]

Those interested in donating produce or other food items to the event can contact Colegrove at 208-263-9514.

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