'We like to support one another': Nova Scotians pay tribute to the 22 victims of mass killing
HALIFAX -- As Nova Scotians struggle to come to terms with an hours-long rampage that left 22 people dead in several communities, tributes continue to pour in from across the Maritimes.
At fire stations across the province, crews sounded their sirens and flashed their lights in honour of the 22 victims.
Chris Wolfe, fire chief at the North Queens Fire Department in Caledonia, N.S., started organizing the event a few days ago. He encouraged other detachments to join them, while practising physical-distancing.
“It made me pretty happy there to see departments from the tip of Yarmouth County right up to the other end of Nova Scotia, even Cape Breton, and a few in other parts of Canada chip in and do the same thing,” says Wolfe.
Wolfe hopes, at a time when people are prevented from mourning together physically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sound of sirens will show Nova Scotians are united and that first responders are not alone.
“We like to support one another, no matter if it's fire, police, paramedics,” says Wolfe.
“Whatever first responder you are, we are all basically there for the same thing, to help people and support them and this was, in my mind, a way of doing that.”
In Digby, N.S., staff at the Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa offered their condolences by mowing a message of support into the green.
“We really, as a group, wanted to find a way not to feel so helpless about what happened in Portapique and surrounding areas and thought, what can we do?” says Annah Boucher, the operations manager at Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa.
“You know, we can't be together as much as we'd like to be and this was something we could do.”
Krista Alford wanted to do her part to help. She's making Nova Scotia Strong decals at her home in Beaver Bank, N.S., with proceeds going to a victim's family. So far, Alford has raised over $1,000.
“In 2017, I battled Stage 4 cancer and people we didn't even know came out of the woodwork to help us,” says Alford.
“I was totally surprised and I always said to myself, ‘If I can get through this I'm going to do something to help somebody else.’”
In Liverpool, N.S., bus drivers are planning to gather safely in the town's parking lot Thursday evening in a display of solidarity.
“We're going to salute the fallen victims that was in the shooting and honour them tonight and have our lights on and give a moment back to them,” says bus driver Joanne Ozon.
Ozon is also a pastor at Hope Wesleyan Church in Shelburne, N.S. She will be leading a special tribute this Sunday during her virtual service.