ADDIS — Kacy Troxclair never realized the impact her little brother had on his friends’ lives until he died and she saw the efforts they went through to honor his legacy.
Kolby “Special K” Lorio died July 28 when his family took him off life support at the LSU Medical Interim University Hospital. Lorio, 25, was airlifted to the New Orleans hospital after he suffered a severe brain injury July 27 when he fell off the tailgate of a moving pick-up truck in Grand Isle.
News of Lorio’s death did more than shock his bevy of friends in West Baton Rouge Parish, it also inspired them to rally together and honor him through a series of fundraisers and memorabilia campaigns.
Troxclair said her family is “dumbfounded” by how many people loved her brother besides his family.
“When we are around these people that just have this love for Kolby, it makes you feel better because you realize the kind of person he truly was,” Troxclair said. “My dad said, ‘(Kolby) left a legacy and I don’t know how he did it.’ ”
Troxclair said her family got their first glimpse of the community’s love for her brother when droves of people joined them July 30 at the Myhand Park softball field in Addis for a candlelight vigil.
“My dad asked me if he hadn’t paid enough attention to Kolby’s life to see what all he was involved in because there were so many people out there,” she said.
Lorio was known as “DJ Special K,” the moniker he used while deejaying at weddings, events and local bars in West Baton Rouge Parish.
Lorio also worked at J&S Paint and Body Shop in Addis and was a member of the Morley softball team.
“He was friends with everybody,” said Whitney Borruano, Lorio’s girlfriend of five years. “You couldn’t walk into a room without having people come up to him.”
Borruano, 24, was with Lorio the night of the accident. The couple was in Grand Isle to attend a rodeo with several friends.
According to police records, a Grand Isle police officer was dispatched to a Subway restaurant around 1 a.m. July 27 after the police dispatcher received a call that a man fell off the back of a truck.
“Kolby and another one of our friends had decided to sit on the tailgate and the driver didn’t know that when he was trying to pull out of the parking lot,” Borruano said.
“Kolby was trying to step down off the truck, lost his footing, and hit his head on the pavement,” she said. “It really felt like I was standing far away watching it all happen, but I was right there next to him.”
Borruano said she just held Lorio’s hand and kept screaming his name until an ambulance showed up.
About three days after news of Lorio’s death, Borruano said her boyfriend’s friends had already started planning a series of benefits in his honor and were selling decals, T-shirts and bracelets adorned with his popular nickname “Special K.”
Borruano said Lorio’s friends have raised about $4,000 from T-shirts sales and approximately $2,000 from selling “K Strong” bracelets.
The Westside Bar and Grill in Brusly held a silent auction and benefit dinner Saturday in Lorio’s honor, and T.J. Waldrop, a friend of Lorio’s, has organized a coed softball tournament, Special K’s Party at the Park, at Myhand Park Sept. 20-22.
“We really just wanted to raise money for the family to help pay for his funeral costs and medical bills,” Waldrop said.
Borruano added, “We don’t want to benefit from his death in any way. If there is any money leftover, we’re going to donate that money to charity, or possibly set up a college fund for his godchild/nephew, Ethan.”
Troxclair said she’s excited about everything that’s going on, and although its painful, she and her father will continue to attend all of the events her brother’s friends have planned.
“I think my dad finds it a little comforting in seeing all Kolby’s friends come together the way they have,” she said. “All of this is really helping us get through this.”
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