A tragic connection

Long before the tragedy of the crane collapse, it had become a highlight for many of us living in downtown Kelowna.

We watched in awe as the new highrise building was built up layer by layer, but the crane itself stood out every night because of it's glowingly lit sign, which was as bright as a full moon.

It became almost a comfort to see it there every night for many months as the construction progressed, especially the long, cold nights of winter during the pandemic.

I wondered one night, "who is this Stemmer?" I discovered it is a family construction company from Salmon Arm, where I once lived. It only added to my personal connection.

One of my closest friends had been a crane operator during his long working career, so when we had coffee together, we would often talk about cranes, including this one. We pondered what a "long walk to and from work" the crane operator had each day as he climbed up and down the 300-foot ladder system to his office in the control booth.

We wondered who might the operator be?

The tragedy has impacted me and many others for life. My wife and I were returning from shopping when a platoon of emergency vehicles passed us, lights flashing and sirens on. Ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles. It seemed never ending.

As we neared our destination, I noticed the top of the crane missing. Then, the horror of it all suddenly manifested.

How crippling might these dark days be to the Stemmer family and their business? I hope that the company will be able to find it's way through this tragedy, and that they and their employees will forge ahead strongly.

Drew Bryant

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