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EDITORIAL – What’s the best way to keep Ryan Shtuka’s name in front of us?

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WHEN WE LOSE loved ones, we want to memorialize them.

We find many ways to do it: headstones on their gravesites, scholarships in their name, roadside memorials. The more famous often get streets, institutions or buildings named in their honour.

But what happens when someone is missing? A change.org petition started by friends of Ryan Shtuka has gathered more than 2,600 signatures asking that Sun Peaks ski resort name a run after him.

Ryan Shtuka’s name is known to almost everyone in this area and to many beyond, and he’s the subject of a book, Missing From Me, written by his mom Heather. Ryan is the young man who went missing at Sun Peaks almost five years ago.

Naming or renaming sites and infrastructure after people who weren’t famous is sensitive. When Doug Gormley was murdered on the Overlanders Bridge bike path more than 20 years ago, his widow proposed that the crossing be named after him.

Instead, a tree in his memory was planted in nearby Riverside Park, along with placement of a plaque.

Similarly, when Capt. Jenn Casey was killed in a Snowbirds plane crash after taking off from the Kamloops airport in 2020, many felt Airport Way should be renamed after her. That, too, failed to resonate at City Hall, and instead she will be memorialized on a plaque at a yet-to-be constructed mini park overlooking the main runway.

So what about Ryan Shtuka, for whom the search continues? There are many ways in which the memory of him can be cherished but placing his name on a run at Sun Peaks would be entirely appropriate for a young man who loved to snow board and who has become so familiar to all.

In the best of worlds, he’ll come home some day. Putting his name on a ski run — with his family’s OK, of course — can help keep that hope, and the memory of him, alive.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (9358 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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