On Monday, April 24 a devastating event occurred at American Elm in Denver’s Highland neighborhood. Two of the restaurant's beloved employees, Emerall Vaughn-Dahler and Ignacio “Nacho” Gutierrez Morales, were tragically killed while they were working at the restaurant. The Denver Police Department is actively investigating this homicide and will release more information as they are able.
The funds raised for this campaign will go directly to the victims’ families to help alleviate the financial burden that has been placed upon them during such a difficult time. The donations will help with practical support for the families, inclusive but not limited to funeral/memorial services, assistance with child care, monthly bills, meals, or other necessities that the families may need while they are grieving. The funds will be split evenly between the two families impacted. Our goal is to give $50K to both families, but any support is greatly appreciated
Emerall and Nacho were pillars of the American Elm family and will be so greatly missed by their families, loved ones and colleagues. We’ve included a little background on each of them below to help honor and cherish their memories.
Emerall Vaughn-Dahler was 34 years old and is survived by her son Michael, age 12, and Husband Andrew. She was born in St Johns, Arizona and raised across St Johns, San Diego and Arvada. She spent the entirety of her career in the Denver hospitality scene. She joined the American Elm Team in June of 2021 as a server and through hard work and dedication quickly rose to become General Manager. She was earnest, hard working and compassionate, had a kind and gentle spirit. Above all she was a loving mother, selfless and accepting of all, no judgements.
Ignacio “Nacho” Gutierrez Morales was 58 years-old and was extremely well respected within Denver’s culinary community. He worked for years at Guard & Grace and Highland Tavern before coming to American Elm as a prep cook. He was born in Puebla, Mexico. He is survived by his 3 children who all love him very much (Cinthia 36 years-old; Johnathan 32 years-old; and Alex 18 years-old). Nacho was very caring, humble and loved by many. If he had a chance to help someone he was always there. He was quiet and always there to listen.