October 24, 2011
Town rallies for families of dead Alta. teens
By Allison Salz, QMI Agency
EDMONTON -- The town of Grande Prairie, Alta., is proving they band together in times of crisis.
Following a collision that killed four high school students and left one in hospital, the town has rallied behind the families of Tanner Hildebrand, Matt Deller, Walter Borden-Wilkins and Vincent Stover, all members of the school football team.
The boys were heading down Highway 668 just after midnight Saturday when they were struck by a GMC Sierra pickup truck.
Close to 10 businesses have agreed to donate portions of their profits over the next few weeks, which will be donated to the families.
That includes Bernadette Christie, who runs a youth juice business out of her home.
She says she will donate 100% of her proceeds from each bottle sold.
"Everyone wants to help," she said, adding that a small group will also be making frozen meals to be delivered to the families on Friday.
"Small communities very much band together. They're very good up here for that."
Christie adds the community is still trying to come to grips with the loss and proof could be seen around town Monday as many silent tributes began to pop up.
Orange ribbons have appeared on trees and posts, and businesses flashed signs paying tribute to the four boys.
Several students made their way to Grande Prairie Composite High School to speak to counsellors, even though the school was closed for a professional development day.
It was important, says principal Rick Gilson, to keep that option open even though it wasn't a regular school day.
"We needed to keep that," he said. "Not just for the players, who have received amazing support, but for other students. We're going to try and be there for everyone."
On Tuesday, students are also planning to don orange and black -- the school colours -- as a way of honouring their friends.
The Warriors football team are also set to play in a semi-final playoff game Saturday against Sexsmith, Alta.
"(The players) are committed to honouring their teammates by playing. The counsellors told us it was the best thing to do, the families players and coaches were all in agreement that we had to do that. It doesn't make it any easier, but you have to do it."
Friends and families of the fallen Warriors are in the process of setting up a trust fund at Royal Bank.
In the meantime donations, gift cards and flowers can be taken to the Grande Prairie Provincial School District offices.
The driver of the truck, Brendan Holubowich, 21, has been charged with 11 alcohol-related charges, including four counts of impaired driving causing death.