Sparwood, B.C. – Walking along the roadside, the crackle of footsteps breaking branches is heard. The forest is thick and they can’t be seen, but a crystal clear voice rings through.
“Kienan, we love you.”
The voice is that of one of several hundred local volunteers who continue to conduct a shoulder to shoulder search of anything that may be a clue to help find Kienan Hebert.
Sparwood remains hopeful and united as the search continues for Kienan Hebert, who has now been missing from his Sparwood home for over fourty eight hours. Hundreds of volunteers have assisted in the efforts and the involvement of the community is profound.
In less than three hours, since the notice for the search efforts to begin on Wednesday a team of local volunteers was established, in less than six hours the number of volunteers increased to over five hundred, in less than 12 hours food, water, ice and supplies were being donated swiftly and in abundance. In less than twenty four hours, there was not a person who was not in some way helping in the search for Kienan.
Over twenty five businesses, restaurants, churches, clubs, organizations and individuals locally and outside of Sparwood have been donating food and supplies.
I spoke with some volunteers to see how they felt the day was going and to better understand how our local volunteers were doing, The first were a couple from Calgary, who own a condo in Sparwood. They were down for a mini vacation when the news of Kienan’s disappearance broke. Their vacation was put on hold and they began searching, knowing that they needed to help.
Another woman who had been out the previous evening and was returning to help the next day noted,” The morale is good, people just want to help. I know there were many miners who worked a full shift, went out searching and then went back to work with very little sleep.”
Another woman said, “Everyone is doing something, whether it be searching, cooking or serving food, even teens are helping by offering free babysitting, so that adults can go out and search.”
“It is absolutely amazing how the community has come together it feels good to know how quickly the community comes together,” said a couple who were on searching on horseback all afternoon.
Not a person in Sparwood is taking credit for the hours they have been helping, but if you know Sparwood, and take a glance around, the unspoken gratitude, to be in a community that unites immediately to help one another can be felt. In the wake of worry, helplessness and fear, Sparwood residents are feeling the silver lining may be to know that in a moment’s notice, four thousand people will do everything they can do to help.
To share a personal story, something I cannot yet find the words to describe, yesterday was my daughters sixth birthday. We ordered her favorite Chinese food for dinner. As I struggled to put the day behind me and live in the moment for her, I glanced down at the fortune from her cookie. It read: You will soon witness a miracle. To Kienan, to Sparwood, to all those that are helping. This one is for you.
On behalf of Sparwood and the Hebert family a huge thank you goes out to those near and far. Thank you for searching, praying, hoping and waiting.
Supplies are always being donated. Flashlights are stockpiled for the evening search efforts.
The LDS Church in Sparwood Heights has opened its doors to the community to register volunteers, serve food and drinks and provide childcare.
The hopes of a family and a community.
Jenna Jensen is covering the search for Kienan Hebert for The Free Press and Black Press.