Residents and members of several organizations from Green Bay South came out to pay tribute and remember Burton Winters, on Saturday, and to offer support to his family at the Pilley’s Island Recreation Centre.
The story of the young boy from Makkovik, in Labrador, whose body was found several hours after walking for miles following his ski-doo breaking down, has been the subject of news headlines and debates nation wide for the past several weeks. The issue was brought to the forefront when it was discovered the Canadian Search and Rescue helicopter did not assist in the rescue efforts, which many believe could have saved his life, even after those on the ground called and asked for assistance.
The debate has reached even as far a Parliament hill – where politicians have called on Defence Minister Peter McKay to call a full investigation into Search and Rescue efforts, and make changes to prevent the Winters case from ever happening again.
Burton Winter’s stepfather, Stephen Rice, grew up in Pilley’s Island, and many of his family members still reside there.
Last week, a candlelight vigil was held along with a moment of silence offering everyone a chance to remember the young boy, who lost his life so tragically. For those who gathered, it was a night of reflection through speeches, remarks, music and song.
The evening opened with the march of the cadets and the singing of Ode to Newfoundland led by Dennis Gill, and the ceremony ended with the singing of Amazing Grace led by Lod Anthony, followed by the Cadets playing O Canada.
Amongst the many speakers of the evening were Derek Payne, Fire Chief of Pilley’s Island, who shared words of condolences for the family and expressed the importance of standing together to allow our voices to be heard so that such a tragedy does not happen again. Fern Roberts, Mayor of Pilley’s Island, expressed her thanks for such an outpouring of support from the communities, and was proud to see so many young people participating.
For those in attendance, it was a sombre reminder of how tragedy can hit close to home, and how one incident can affect so many lives, all across the country.