Column: No one walks this painful road alone

Salmon Arm Observer editor reflects on the tragedy in Humboldt, Saskatchewan

In the wake of the terrible tragedy in Humboldt, Sask. my thoughts, along with those of so many across the nation and around the world, turned to the grieving families and friends, and to those who survived the horrific crash.

I thought about those who had to respond – the police, paramedics, firefighters, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, social workers, grief counsellors.

But my thoughts also turned to the storytellers. There’s a kinship when you know that your fellow journalists are also going to be called on to hear stories they’d rather not hear and write stories they’d rather not write.

The reality is people want information about a situation such as this. When reporting the news, there is a fine line to walk between taste and hard truth, between informed comment and rumour, between the comfort level of various people for privacy. And in this age of the 24/7 news cycle, these decisions need to be made on the fly, often as information – both true and false – is flooding in.

I thought of my friend and former editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Heather Persson. She is now the managing editor of the two largest newspapers in Saskatchewan – the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and the Regina Leader-Post.

She shared a photo with me of her husband driving her car around the region, as she typed away on her keyboard, collecting stories and writing her thoughts. In such a situation, it is all hands on deck. And Persson is not a hands-off boss.

Then I read her offering to the community and her words struck a chord with me. I quote her below.

“One could say the pain of the survivors, the families and friends is unimaginable, but many were doing just that — imagining themselves trying to deal with such a horrific event.

And putting ourselves in their shoes is not a stretch.

So many Saskatchewan kids spend countless hours on a bus headed to hockey games. So many moms and dads put them on the road and say a quiet prayer that they will stay safe while out of their care. So many know the pleasure and sense of community found at a Junior A hockey game.”

And it is not just Saskatchewan kids spending hours on those busses.

It is Salmon Arm’s kids, Sicamous’ kids, Ottawa’s kids, Alberta’s kids — Canada’s kids.

As the nation’s parents heard the news, I feel confident in predicting that there were very few who didn’t feel a chill down their spine, or thought, ‘it could have been my kid.’

And so we pull together, and we show our compassion and sympathy for those this has touched directly. As we read their stories and see their photos, we take a moment out of our own stuff to pause and reflect on the fragility of life.

And we will put those hockey sticks on our porches or doorsteps, as I will tonight. And we will wear a jersey on Thursday to honour and remember.

Related link: Salmon Arm flies flags at half mast in support of bus crash victims

Related link: B.C. hockey moms’ jersey campaign supports Humboldt Broncos

Persson wrote something else that resonated with me.

”It is little comfort right now, but nobody will have to walk this painful road alone.”


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Vernon gas leak stopped, repairs continue

Gas leak at 43rd St and 16th Ave Dec. 17

Retailers feel impact of generous return policies

Technology data tracking can clamp down on fraudulent abuse

RCMP, civilian vehicles rammed in North Okanagan incident

Police attempt to stop truck near Enderby, thought to be tied to alleged Salmon Arm armed robbery

North Okanagan Light A Bulb campaign nears goal

Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation said goal of $275,000 for new equipment is getting closer

Vernon basketball product joins sister at UBCO

Kelsey Falk has committed to the UBCO Heat, joining older sister Brianna and two former VSS stars

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Vernon’s Slattery wins provincials berth

The women’s open no. 1 playdown took place Dec. 14 to 16 at Tunnel Town Curling Club.

Police have ‘viable suspects’ in B.C. gangster’s 2017 murder

Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg was successful in asking a judge to extend the length of time police can hold onto exhibits seized in connection with the homicide.

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Vancouver Island

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Stricter drunk driving laws to take effect across Canada today

It gives police officers the right to ask for a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop

Winter storm warning issued for Coquihalla highway

Total snow accumulations of 40-50 cm expected by Wednesday

The prize was wrong: Man turns down trip to Manitoba

A New Hampshire man won the prize on “The Price is Right”, but turned it down because the taxes were too high

Sarah MacDougall talks emulating the vastness of nature in latest album

The Swedish musician will perform in Kelowna Jan. 30

Most Read