Fernie residents gathered at Rotary Park on Sept. 16 to show their support for the murdered father and daughter from Blairmore.

Fernie held candlelight vigil for murder victims

Last week, close to 150 Fernie residents lit candles in memory of Terry Blanchette and his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.

The community of Fernie gathered last week at Rotary Park to show its support to the families, friends and neighbours of the murdered father and daughter from Blairmore.

Terry Blanchette, 27, and two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette were killed last week, shattering the small, close-knit Alberta community.

Fernie resident Chris Inglis helped organize a local candlelight vigil, showing solidarity and support from one small community to another.

“The community was grieving, our neighbours to the east, and I knew somehow we had to get together to share our emotions and our grief and our anger,” he said, adding he saw on social media people wanted to have some sort of gathering. “I just kind of grabbed the bull by the horns and organized it.”

Despite having only a half-day to get the word out, close to 150 people were in attendance, young and old.

Inglis said small communities rally together, something not as often seen in big cities.

“We as small communities know each other, pass each other on the street, so when something like this happens so close to home, it affects everybody.”

Rev. Jane Clarke from the Fernie Knox United Church offered a few words to the victims and those impacted by the tragedy.

“We’re gathered to remember Terry and Hailey; to remember them with love and compassion and hopefully not with anger in our hearts,” she said, adding it’s natural to feel angry over something so senseless and sad. “But I ask that we don’t allow ourselves to feel the anger, if we can, let it be overcome by love and support and compassion.”

Clarke also asked the crowd to show its support and compassion to Hailey’s mom, Cheyenne Dunbar and her family, as well as Terry’s family.

“May we surround them with our love and light.”

A moment of silence followed as supporters huddled together with their heads down and candles burning.

The community of Sparwood also showed its support on Sept. 19 with a motorcycle tribute ride during the day and a candlelight vigil at night.