Remembering lives lost

Members of the street-entrenched community who passed away in the last year will be remembered at a special ceremony next week.

On Thursday, Oct. 18 people from all walks of life will gather at the big rock near the gazebo in Polson Park at 2 p.m. to remember the lives lost.

Rev. Chuck Harper worked with the street community in Vernon for years and will once again lead the ceremony to remember those who have been lost.

Harper got the idea after a homeless friend of his died. He knew something had to be done to honour those lost.

In one year, 14 members of the street community died. Harper personally knew 13 of them so in 2013, the idea for the memorial was born.

A large rock with a plaque on it has been placed in Polson Park and for the fifth year, a memorial service will be held at the site.

“With the opioid crisis, we are losing more and more men and women,” he said. “I can verify about 86 deaths over the past five years. More need to be addressed about the issues of homeless and poverty-related deaths."

The memorial has a two-fold purpose: to provide a respectful place where the lost can be remembered and as a way to advocate on their behalf.

“We need to do more. People need to understand more the issues of poverty in our community,” said Harper.

“Everyone is welcome to come."

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