John White: Castlegar community rallies after world event hits home

It was the best of times and worst of times in Castlegar this week.

It was the best of times and worst of times in Castlegar this week.

News that the terror attack in London took the life of a Castlegar native came down Sunday, at the same time that a very successful Sunfest was winding up.

I attended The Hip Show on Saturday night at Sunfest in Kinsmen Park and was so impressed that I immediately headed back to the office to write a review and post all of my photos. It was an emotional event for me, as I truly felt part of the community in celebrating our luck to live here and enjoy our freedoms and all that entails.

Several times during the show I let my eyes wander to the surrounding mountains and trees and let the goodness fill me.

That was after covering the parade, the gem show and sale, slow pitch and tennis earlier in the day. I really soaked up the community vibe all day and was basking in it by nightfall.

But this comforting bliss was about to change.

Chrissy Archibald was in London to be with her fiancé Saturday night when she was killed in an a coordinated terrorist attack. Her family put out an incredible statement of positivity and hope to the media in the hours after getting word of their tremendous loss.

“We grieve the loss of our beautiful, loving daughter and sister. She had room in her heart for everyone and believed strongly that every person was to be valued and respected. She lived this belief working in a shelter for the homeless until she moved to Europe to be with her fiancé. She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death. Please honor her by making your community a better place. Volunteer your time or labor or donate to a homeless shelter. Tell them Chrissy sent you.”

Wow. I was so moved by this selfless and loving act. I had been planning to donate my time to students this fall who are interested in writing and journalism. This call to volunteer and give back solidified my resolve. I will also mention Chrissy’s name when I confirm my plan as a tribute to her spirit and memory.

I was very recently talking about the remoteness of Castlegar and the separation from the average threat of terror attacks, and then it hits as close to home as is possible. The randomness of terror in how victims are chosen, combined with the personal stories of loss from people in the community you live in, brings a painful, dark shot to the soul.

Chrissy’s family refused to give in to the abject fear and hatred in terror, and turned it into an uplifting movement. Let’s all do what we can to see it through and make our world more habitable and nurturing.

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