BETA

Search and rescue — British Columbia

SPARWOOD, B.C.

In a small mining town in southeastern British Columbia, people of different faiths banded together to help in the search and rescue of a young boy who went missing from his home on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Between 400 and 500 people were fed per meal. Meals were offered by Church members to volunteers involved in the search effort.
Between 400 and 500 people were fed per meal. Meals were offered by Church members to volunteers involved in the search effort. Photo: Photo courtesy Jamie Bruce

On the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 7, Jamie Bruce of the Sparwood Ward, Cranbrook British Columbia Stake, read on Facebook about missing 3-year-old boy, Kienan Hebert. She soon received word that sandwiches were needed for the searchers and immediately offered her assistance. Sister Bruce called friend and fellow ward member, Kristin Woolf, and they went through the ward directory to see who could help. More than 160 sandwiches were delivered to volunteers that afternoon.

Later that day Bishop Roger Still of the Sparwood Ward returned home from work and immediately went to the temporary command center. He saw there were hundreds of people and quickly offered the local Church building as a base camp. He signed up to walk with others in the search for Kienan and noted that groups ranged from 10 to 20 people as grid searches were performed throughout the area.

“I was shocked to realize how wide it was,” Sister Woolf said. She observed that volunteers from Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan joined in the effort to find Kienan.

Volunteers gather at the Church to assist in the search for the missing boy.
Volunteers gather at the Church to assist in the search for the missing boy. Photo: Photo courtesy Jamie Bruce

With the influx of volunteers from throughout British Columbia and surrounding provinces, accommodations and supplies were needed. Local businesses were quick to donate food and personal donations were also made. The meetinghouse became a volunteer command center and the local Emergency Social Services established base camp there. Priesthood holders volunteered to stay at the Church building, which was open night and day to house search and rescue workers. Around 50 members of the small Sparwood Ward contributed their services, which included baby sitting, building clean up, food preparation and food delivery. . The Sparwood Fellowship Baptist Church, where the Hebert family attends, also housed volunteers.

Volunteers used the Church facility as a staging area.  Vehicles filled the parking lot and lined the streets along the Church property.
Volunteers used the Church facility as a staging area. Vehicles filled the parking lot and lined the streets along the Church property. Photo: Photo courtesy Jamie Bruce
Supplies to assist the searchers were available at the Church.
Supplies to assist the searchers were available at the Church. Photo: Photo courtesy Jamie Bruce

“We were all one and the same,” noted Sister Bruce as she recalled the efforts to bring the little boy home. “It was really nice to see the community come together.

Sister Woolf agreed and said the circumstance made her extend herself to more than just her Church community. Through the search for Kienan she was able to make connections with people from all faiths: connections that will last a lifetime.

Church members assisted with the search effort by preparing food for volunteers.
Church members assisted with the search effort by preparing food for volunteers. Photo: Photo courtesy Jamie Bruce

“We were very glad it turned out well,” Bishop Still said. Kienan was returned to his home, unharmed, in the early hours of Sunday, Sept. 11. A grateful Hebert family also stopped by the Church building several times during the search to express their thanks.

Water to support volunteer searchers was available at the Church.
Water to support volunteer searchers was available at the Church. Photo: Photo courtesy Jamie Bruce

“We were happy to be able to be there for the community,” Bishop Still said.

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