Hundreds of heavy hearts gathered in Fernie this weekend to say goodbye to the men lost in last month’s tragedy.
A sea of people circled around a stage and bonfire in the soccer field at Fernie Secondary School Sunday.
Family, friends, co-workers, and neighbours came together in tribute of Wayne Hornquist, Lloyd Smith and Jason Podloski who all died due to an ammonia leak at the arena October. 17th.
Hornquist and Smith both worked for the City of Fernie, while Podloski was a contractor called in from a Calgary refrigeration company.
The memorial included prayers, songs and memories of what the men had meant to their loved ones and to the community.
City Councillor Joe Warshawsky gave the eulogy for Hornquist.
Warshawsky talked of how Hornquist did everything to the fullest of his mental and physical ability and followed through on projects with great determination and resolve.
He was always present and always had your back Warshawsky told the crowd of mourners.
The Councillor pointed out Hornquist, a City employees for 25 plus years, was referred to as “dad” by co-workers who he would caution to be careful and aware of their surroundings only to eventually join in on the fun.
Warshawsky described Hornquist as a perfectionist with his many projects and someone who could be relied on.
Appropriately, a performance of Roy Orbison’s 1989 hit “You Got It” was done following the eulogy.
The BC’s Ambulance Service’s Ron Oszust and Karen Smith-Myles spoke about Lloyd Smith.
Smith-Myles, Lloyd’s older sister, recited memories of how her brother’s many interests started at a very young age.
She talked about as he continued to grow older so would his list of activities: parachuting, scuba-diving, rock climbing and yes life-saving.
You just never knew what he was going to do next.
With Lloyd, it was always an epic adventure followed by an epic story.
Admitting Sunday was a very difficult day as it mark the end of a chapter, Smith-Myles did reveal the family has been taken aback by all they’ve discovered about their brother and son over the past couple weeks.
She says Lloyd was constantly growing and he had so many different facets to him.
She submits what was common among them was his desire for personal growth.
Lloyd didn’t do it for accolades or recognition, he did it to better himself.
Smith-Myles told those in attendance, her brother still had so many more goals he wanted to achieve such as learning a second language, becoming the CEO of his own company and achieving rock-hard abs.
The family of Jason Podloski stood on the stage together, led by Jason’s sister Tanya Hryniw.
Hryniw thanked the community for their support and the City of Fernie for organizing such a moving tribute, and they were honoured to be part of it.
She talked about how much they loved Podloski and how great it was to see his life change so drastically when his girls came into his life.
Afterwards, she said she just wanted to speak about the type of man her brother was.
Hyrniw says Jason was a loving, caring family man with tons of friends.
She says they share many memories and she won’t lose those anytime soon.
Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano said she hoped the memorial helped family and residents begin to heal.
Nearly a month after the tragedy, life has pushed forward but the community has made sure these three men will never be forgotten.
– Lloyd Smith’s sister Karen Smith-Myles
– Jason Podloski’s sister Tanya Hyrniw