A couple of hundred people attended a moving drumming event this afternoon in support of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.
Organizer Patricia Zerr and her sister put a call out on social media last night, asking people to meet on Tranquille Road, across from the local SPCA branch. A memorial of notes, flowers and Canadian flags has quickly taken shape across the street.
On Sunday, a Canadian Forces Snowbirds jet went down in the Brock neighbourhood shortly after takeoff from Kamloops Airport. Capt. Jennifer Casey died in the crash and Capt. Richard MacDougall suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries.
"I couldn't ask for a better turnout," Zerr tells Castanet. "I've lived in Kamloops for 27 years. It doesn't surprise me to have the turnout we have. ... When there's times of trouble or crisis or when we're in need of support, Kamloops comes out."
The drumming event was attended by locals, elders, First Nations chiefs, band councillors and more.
Some amazing photos from @BKergin, from this afternoon’s drumming event in #Kamloops. Around 200 people, including elders, First Nations chiefs, band councillors & neighbours, gathered at the memorial site on Tranquille to sing songs and pay their respects to the @CFSnowbirds. pic.twitter.com/uSR4Le6Ybj— Tereza Verenca (@tverenca) May 18, 2020
"We know that they (the Snowbirds) came to town to boost our moral through the COVID-19 crisis and I knew it was important for us to give them some love and support back," Zerr says. "We are one."
Something special happened; 19 Wing Comox is currently in Kamloops helping the Snowbirds. Comox public affairs officer Lt. Alexandra Hejduk just happened to be driving by when the drumming demonstration was taking place.
The drumming group saw her, turned around and started performing in her direction.
"You have made us feel welcomed. You have made us feel a part of your community and we thank you so much for that. This is so special," Hejduk says.
"We were supposed to be another place, and we saw this happening and we came down to see it. This is more than anybody could even imagine, to occur as a tribute to Snowbirds, to Capt. Jennifer Casey, to Capt. Richard MacDougall," she adds.
— with files from Brendan Kergin
Lieutenant Alexandra Hejduk, press officer for the Comox group that just arrived. The group sang to her and chiefs came over to express gratitude and sadness. #kamloops #snowbirds pic.twitter.com/vLbHD9sV0E— Brendan Kergin ?? (@BKergin) May 18, 2020