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In the darkest days of the local economy in the not-so-distant past then-city councillor David D. Hull came out with a telling quip at a council meeting.
Perhaps, said Mr. Hull, a loaded logging truck should be put into the Riverboat Days parade that year just to show youngsters what was once the area’s dominant industry.
He may not have been far off. Skeena Sawmills at that time was shuttered. The big mill, Skeena Cellulose, had been dismantled. Families, or at least the prime breadwinner, had moved on to booming Alberta or to northeastern B.C.
But the essential DNA of the area remained of the generations of people who got up every morning and went to the mills, the truckers who braved rough roads pushed through the forest to bring out the trees to the mills and the loggers themselves who brought down those trees.
Aside from the stories told in coffee shops, around the kitchen table or, sadly, at funerals and wakes, there’s never been any specific way to acknowledge or remember those who were killed on the job.
That’s changing just beside the tiny chapel at Usk thanks to Bill McRae. There, on Sunday, April 27 at 2 p.m., a stone memorial will be blessed. Contributions of labour, services and material that have gone into the memorial are evidence, as much evidence as the project is itself, that those who died on the job have not been forgotten.