Sheryl Bussiere and her daughter Sage

Sheryl Bussiere and her daughter Sage

Armstrong pays tribute to young victims

Ceremony at Memorial Park Sunday draws hundreds who came to remember four youth who died tragically in slightly more than a month.

In Armstrong, green is part of the city’s colours and symbolizes regrowth.

A total of 800 green ribbons were made for a gathering to honour four youth who died between Sept. 22 and Oct. 31 at Memorial Park Sunday.

All 800 ribbons were handed out.

“Folks in Armstrong are very supportive and there was a good turnout,” said Patti Noonan, executive director of the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce. “The weather was great, people were respectful and it was good to see people stay afterwards and chatting.”

People kept coming into the park, up the back side of the facility and adults sat with children in the playground to listen to speakers at the event put together to honour the memories of Cullen Rowan, 18, who died Sept. 22 in a workplace accident; siblings Ava-Mae, five, and Austin Claassen, four, who died as a result of a motorhome fire near Lytton Oct. 12; and Taylor Van Diest, 18, who was attacked Halloween night and died later that evening in Kelowna hospital. Police are treating her death as a homicide.

The gathering opened and closed with prayers from the Armstrong Ministerial Association, and candles were lit during the ceremony.

An open mic was held to give people a chance to speak, and a moment of silence was observed to honour the victims.

“I know it helped a lot of people in the community,” said Noonan. “They may not know the families intimately, but they were just feeling they needed a place to be with everybody else and do some soul searching and thinking.”