An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER the death of Katherine McParland became known last weekend, ideas started coming forward about how to memorialize her: a plaque, naming a street, a building, a program, an annual walk.
There’s no question that McParland is deserving of some sort of posthumous honour. She conquered challenging circumstances to become an advocate for homeless youth, creating the A Way Home Kamloops organization and eventually graduating with two university degrees.
Those who didn’t know Katherine McParland personally certainly knew of her through her tireless fundraising efforts, for which she appeared frequently in the media. She called the media her “media partners” and they never said “no” when she needed publicity for her latest project.
Those who had the pleasure of meeting her were always impressed by her ever-cheerful demeaner, her constant smile and her charming, sincere manner. And those who worked with her knew well her creativity and work ethic.
Over the past several days, she’s been described as “beloved” and a “pillar of the community.” Indeed, she was the face of A Way Home Kamloops and local efforts to enhance the lives of young people aging out of foster care.
In so many ways, she is A Way Home Kamloops, and she will be impossible to replace. The board of the organization will have to find some way of carrying on without her.
Making sure her legacy lives on is the best possible tribute that can be offered, and that’s ultimately up to the community. That’s why Friday night’s annual Campout for Youth Homelessness is so important, why it was essential to carry it through.
Each and every one of us can contribute to that legacy by taking part in the Campout or simply by donating. All we have to do is go to the A Way Home Kamloops website and be part of it.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.