A monument grows outside an apartment building on Beach Drive where two young girls were found dead Christmas Day. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Oak Bay nourishes first responders in wake of horrific murders

Fund set up to feed police, fire, ambulance responders of Oak Bay Christmas Day tragedy

Oak Bay will nourish its first responders this week in the wake of the Christmas homicide of young sisters Chloe and Aubrey Berry.

In the wake of the double homicide of two young girls, online community chatter quickly turned to rally around the family and also the first responders, says Oak Bay resident Sarah Johnston.

“The community wanted to nourish them, literally in these first few days,” she says.

Members of the community quickly took on roles, Johnston’s was to start organizing a way to care for the first responders to the “horrific” scene Christmas Day.

RELATED: Two young children victims in Oak Bay double homicide

RELATED: Mayor responds to Oak Bay tragedy

“It was kind of a grassroots idea that was bred from many community members that we were concerned and caring about the police, fire and ambulance that had to attend and see those little girls,” Johnston says. “We decided to create a fund that the community could donate to, and have food sent to police and fire every day for a week or so while they’re dealing with the immediate interim when they might forget to take care of themselves, which is what first responders do.”

Oak Bay Police Department follows a Critical Incident Stress Model to ensure officers are well cared for, said the deputy chief.

“While our focus and that of the community needs to be on the loved ones who are suffering such a devastating loss as well as the greater impact within our community, I can assure you that we have engaged experts in the field of critical incident stress management and we’re following every step of their counsel,” says Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties.

Noting that, Johnston says, remaining funds would go to the police and fire departments to manage as they wish for ongoing grief and trauma in ways the departments determine best.

“We’re also going to deliver a thank you card and a food tray to BC Ambulance. We’re just tracking down the cars that were involved with that,” Johnston said.

She created the Oak Bay First Responders Community Fund at the Oak Bay Branch of TD Canada Trust

While Johnston was counselled to not publish an account number, those wishing to donate in person can call her at 250-818-6014 for the necessary information. Donations can also be made via e-transfer to e transfer to obfirstresponders@gmail.com.

Oak Bay will also hold a candle-light vigil at Willows Beach on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m to remember Chloe and Aubrey. Attendees should dress warmly and bring a candle.


 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com
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