On Tuesday, August 16, 2022, Tyree Baird, a beloved sixth grade teacher at Kanab Elementary School (KES) gave birth to Everett Jameson Baird. After complications with his birth, he was life-flighted to St. George Regional Hospital and admitted to the NICU. Everett was without oxygen for an unknown amount of time and showed limited brain activity.
Like many others in town, I have a daughter who just finished sixth grade this past spring and who had been anticipating, along with her many classmates, the birth of this new baby. Her friends and peers had mentioned Mrs. Baird’s baby multiple times throughout the year. They were so excited for one of their favorite teachers to add a third child to their family. The news hit this crew pretty hard, along with the hundreds of other students and families Mrs. Baird has influenced over the years at KES.
On Sunday, August 21, Josh (Tyree’s husband) and Tyree received the hard, but good news that they could bring their precious baby boy home on Tuesday, where they would be able to enjoy him for as long as possible. This is where Alivia Swapp and others went to work on short notice to welcome a teacher, who had sacrificed much of her time to teach our kids, and her family home, and support them in this time of need. Texts and emails immediately went out and within 24 hours, the highways were decorated, the back roads had messages of hope and their front door decorated with hearts, covered in messages from hundreds of families in Kanab.
Swapp said, “Sunday I had had the thought to welcome the Bairds back into town by decorating their home. I made sure no one else had planned anything and started texting friends here in Kanab. By Monday after school, we had probably a thousand hearts from students in Kanab (first through 12th grades) and many other families sending their well wishes.
“We had about 15 people helping to decorate which took us about one and a half hours to do. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people in our community who stepped up in such a short amount of time to make the Bairds Welcome Home such a success. The fifth and sixth grade football team, under the direction of Shado Colson, also helped with blue ribbons and signs posted along their route home. Our community is so special and when people are in need, we rally together to help bear the burdens of our neighbors.”
The Kanab High School football team also dedicated their Friday night football game to the Bairds, with the players waiving a blue flag to start the game and the cheerleaders and students wearing blue ribbons in support of the Baird family. KES and KMS are both providing a way for children to bring change and donate to the family as well.
Kanab is a special community, unique in how quickly it can band together to help those in need. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what to do when you know someone is struggling, but anything is better than nothing, and Swapp took action even though she wasn’t sure what to do.
Many residents driving along 1100 S this past week saw the outcome of this community outpouring of love and grew emotional at the sight of blue ribbons and signposts lining the way home for the Baird family.
Everett passed away on Thursday, August 25, at his home, surrounded by his loving family.
A GoFundMe account has been set up on behalf of the Baird family at this time. Please consider donating to this sweet family by going to www. gofundme.com, search “Bairds Kanab” and click the picture that says, “Donate to help the Baird Family.”