Today is a good day to hug someone you love

I’m at a loss for words.

I can’t even imagine what the families of the victims in Nova Scotia are going through and I’m not even going to attempt to try. As we learn more about the victims, we are starting to hear a common theme between all of them which I think is a true characterization of everyone in the great Province of Nova Scotia and that is salt of the earth people.

I’ve been fortunate enough through my previous career to visit Nova Scotia a few times to meet with clients and on business trips you don’t necessarily have the opportunity to site see, however I did get a chance to meet plenty of people during that time and 6 degrees of separation doesn’t really exist in Nova Scotia, its more 2 to 3 degrees of separation. Everyone seems to know each other and besides being salt of the earth people, they are all caring, helpful and all of them are happy.

22 victims and sheer terror. We are starting to hear about how some of them ran into danger trying to save victims from burning structures not knowing what awaits them. Tragic, just tragic. The first victim I heard was Constable Heidi Stephenson and then they showed a picture of the Constable on the screen. Standing tall in her RCMP uniform, you can see how proud she was of being a Constable. Her smile will forever be ingrained in my memory. As time passed, you heard stories of Constable Stephenson and who she was not only as a constable but as a person and there are two stories that resonated with me the most. The first is a story of a time 20 years ago when a then 6-year-old named Mara Wienke met Constable Stephenson in Apeldoorn Netherlands for a celebration marking the communities liberation by Canadian troops during the Second World War. The picture of the two of them says so much but that smile, that big beautiful smile will forever be a lasting memory for many.

The second story was shared by Leah Parson, Rehtaeh Parson’s mother who tragically passed after being bullied and harassed. Leah shared a story of how after she called 911, it was Constable Stephenson who appeared at her residence on April 4th, 2013. Leah mentions how Constable Stephenson had a “soft and compassionate face” which is evident by the pictures being shared on news outlets and social media. She then goes on to mention the support that Constable Heidi Stephenson gave the family during such an emotional time such as joining a walk in memory of Rehtaeh. Leah then mentions how she had a moment of connection with Rehtaeh and when Rehtaeh greets Constable Stephenson, to share that love and compassion with her that she shared with them.

There is one picture that will forever resonate with me. It’s a picture of Constable Stephenson walking hand in hand with children. In uniform with that huge smile, doing what she loved to do, day in day out. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking of how I and Viking’s Landing can help make things a bit easier for everyone so when we re-open, that first weekend will be dedicated to every first responder and front-line worker. We’ll follow the necessary physical distancing measures as outline by health professionals once it is announced but I want ever first responder and front-line worker to have a little bit of fun and share some smiles with those that mean the most to them, for free. Come and throw a few axes and try out virtual reality on us. It’s a small way to say thank you for doing what you do and when this is all over, you deserve to have a little bit fun and share a few laughs and your own big huge smile just as Constable Heidi Stephenson did.

Every day is a good day to hug a loved one. Today is probably the best day


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