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‘Street dad’ mourned by Terrace homeless community

“He could not get into a shelter, so each morning I’d come look for him, give him food, water’: Sophia.

Jack lived his life on the streets of Terrace and that’s where he died the afternoon of Friday, July 22 — in the scrub grass on the southeast corner of Greig and Emerson.

He wasn’t alone as the distress that caused him to collapse brought two B.C. ambulances and the Terrace Fire Department’s first responder to the scene. In all, seven emergency personnel worked on Jack.

To Sophia, who is also homeless but who now has a space in a shelter, Jack was a well-known member of the local street community.

“He was my street dad,” said Sophia one hot afternoon while standing at a small floral memorial placed at the scene.

“He could not get into a shelter. So each morning I’d come look for him, give him food, water,” she says.

Originally from Greenville in the Nass Valley, Sophia estimated Jack’s age at perhaps 60.

“I’d look after him,” Sophia adds. Originally from Prince Rupert, Sophia says she’s been in Terrace since 2013.

The flower memorial is from Jack’s family. With the flowers is a card and written in ink on the inside is “forever in our hearts.”

Down the slight slope from the memorial, under a tree in the middle of what was once the thriving Terrace Co-op shopping centre site, a group of people sit under the shade of a tree. They’re talking to a City of Terrace bylaw officer who stopped by.

“We’re here today paying our respects,” said Sophia as she walked back toward the group. “Thank you for paying your respects.”

Information provided by the City of Terrace and BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) outlined the level of response on the corner of Greig and Emerson that afternoon.

“This is a standard response for this type of call,” a statement from BC Emergency Health Services stated. “BCEHS notifies firefighter first responders of extremely time-critical calls, known in the system as ‘purple’ and ‘red’ calls so that firefighters can provide life-saving first aid such as CPR prior to the arrival of paramedics.”

A ‘purple’ call is defined as ‘immediately life threatening’ while a ‘red’ call is also immediately life-threatening as well as ‘time critical’, the City of Terrace added in its own information that was provided.