An entire province pours out its grief

April 16, 2018, 9:50 am


I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

The news that 16 people had lost their lives when a semi unit collided with the Humboldt Broncos bus on its way to a playoff game stopped everyone in their tracks, and sent shockwaves through the province.

It hit home for everyone. The loss of 16 young lives full of promise seemed unimaginable.

We could all relate because we’ve all played hockey or cheered on our local teams.

We could all relate because we’ve all put on thousands of highway miles and most of us have had some near misses.

We could all relate because we know young people just like those who were killed in the tragic accident, and we can’t imagine how empty our lives would be without them.

We could all relate because we all know people who put themselves on the line for us—firefighters, police officers, ambulance attendants, doctors and nurses just like those who responded to the collision, and who tried their best to save the boys on the bus.

We could imagine what the boys’ friends and parents were going through, and we could imagine what those who dealt with the accident were going through.

In Moosomin and Whitewood, and in towns across the province, vigils were quickly organized to pray for the families.

The vigils were a good chance for people to let their feelings out, to share their sorrow and disbelief and to feel that they were doing something to help.

It was wonderful to see the crowd out to take part in the vigil in Moosomin on Sunday night.

Then plans started to come together for the massive benefit in Moosomin on Friday.

Everyone wants to help in some way when something like this happens, and giving people a way to participate in an event, to help raise money for the survivors—who may have extensive medical needs depending on their injuries—and the families who have lost loved ones—who may have to take some time off work to process what has happened—is a way both to raise those needed funds and to help people deal with the tragedy by giving them a way to help.

Everyone wanted to help, so giving people a way to help—by attending a benefit game—hit home with a lot of people.

As the week went on, the number of players involved kept growing and growing, and interest in the game kept growing and growing.

A lot of people worked hard behind the scenes to bring it all together—from arranging the barbecue supper to co-ordinating the silent auction to getting donation boxes put together and on and on and on.

Mike Schwean deserves a lot of credit for pulling the whole thing together, and he will be the first to tell you that there were many people working together to make Friday happen.

The entire community got behind the fundraiser and built on it. Jeff Cole had us make up stickers with Humboldt Strong on them and sold them with all proceeds to the Humboldt Broncos.

Others helped the effort in their own way—a group of women were busy making quilts in Moosomin Friday to let affected families in Humboldt know that people are thinking of them.

It was amazing to see the community come together last week—as it always does when there is someone in need.

I am proud to call Moosomin home.

My heart aches for the people of Humboldt affected by this tragedy.

But it warms my heart to see the way the people of Moosomin and other small communities respond to a tragedy like this.