Members of the community who attended the community memorial on Sunday were encouraged to write a prayer or memory on a stone, for the families of the deceased to lay in their gardens. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Hundreds attend community memorial

Friends and family share memories of Hornquist, Smith, Podloski

Hundreds came together on Sunday at Fernie Secondary School, to pay tribute to the three men lost in the ammonia leak incident which occurred at the Fernie Memorial Arena in October. Those attending stood silently, listening to songs, prayers and stories.

The City of Fernie hosted the community memorial to honour two of their own employees, Lloyd Smith, Director of Recreation Services, Wayne Hornquist, Chief Facilities Operator at the arena as well as Jason Podloski, a CIMCO Refrigeration employee.

The three men are remembered by family and friends as hardworking, caring men, whose lives and future plans were cut short on October 17, 2017.

“As a community it is our hope that you feel our love and support at this time,” said Sharon Switzer, Leisure Services Department Clerk with the City of Fernie.

Fernie Councillor Joe Warshawsky presented Hornquist’s eulogy, which spoke about Hornquist as a man who loved his family, the Fernie area, and had a passion for many things such as woodworking.

“Naturally, people gravitated to him,” said Warshawsky. “When young people worked with Wayne, they’d consider him a father figure.”

He said that Hornquist had an uncanny memory, and the ability to execute tasks to near-perfection.

“Once things started to happen, he would see it from start to finish,” said the councillor.

Karen Smith-Myles, sister to Lloyd Smith shared stories about her little brother, remembering him as a shy boy in his early years, who later developed into a man with a thirst for epic adventure.

“You just never knew what Lloyd would do next,” said Smith-Myles.

Smith, who worked for many years with the BC Ambulance service, loved hiking and the outdoors, as well as photography.

Smith-Myles recalled some of the many stories her brother came home with; from living in a sailboat in Port Hardy off the coast of Vancouver Island, to stories of him traveling Europe as a young man, as well as the incredible memories he’d share from his job as a paramedic in the north.

“Every place he worked, he appears to have impacted so many,” she said of her brother, who had worked for the City of Fernie for the past two years.

Smith had plans for the future.

Next summer he and his son were going to hike the Triple Crown in Waterton Lakes National Park. He also had goals of obtaining a Phd, and becoming the CEO of a company one day.

“Be thankful, show compassion, take time for contemplation, never stop growing. That’s what Lloyd would have done,” said Smith-Myles.

The tribute to Jason Podloski began with an audio recording from his friend Corb Lund, a country singer from Alberta.

Lund used to jam with Podloski in Edmonton back in the early 2000s and still performs shows using a guitar that Podloski made him.

Podloski was a skilled woodworker who made cabinets, guitars, and ran his own business selling these goods before becoming a refrigeration technician.

His sister told of how Podloski had just bought a house in High River, met the love of his life, and was looking forward to the most perfect Christmas with his two young sons.

“It was not a quiet house, but it was happy and full of love,” said Tanya Hryniw. “The best things in life aren’t things.”

She said that her brother was beyond happy and her heart breaks for her two nephews, who would be so proud to know what kind of man their father is.

“All our lives changed forever.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

B.C. Premier announces fall election

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka reacts to election announcement

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

UPDATE: Fire above Sparwood no threat to community

Mayor David Wilks reported it may be due to an exposed coal seam

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

First full day of B.C.’s election campaign begins amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized John Horgan’s decision

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Most Read