Letter to the Editor: The kindness of strangers

Sister of man that died on the ferry thanks the people of Prince Rupert for their kindness during a difficult time.

My brother Michael Sutherland passed away on the ferry just as it was about to depart Skidegate, Haida Gwaii for Prince Rupert on May 12, 2016.

He suddenly collapsed and despite the efforts of several bystanders, including an off-duty paramedic, they could not revive him.

He was transported off the boat while his truck and cat were shuttled to Prince Rupert. Once his truck was off-loaded, Michael’s cat was discovered and brought to the Prince Rupert SPCA for some much-needed TLC.

Michael had just completed his annual spring painting contract at the Queen Charlotte Lodge (commonly referred to there as “Mike the Painter”) and was heading home to Langley B.C.

He loved everything about the Haida Gwaii Islands and the lengthy scenic drive there and back. The friendly and welcoming people, abundant wildlife, majestic mountains, spectacular forests and renowned fishing beckoned him each spring for the last 26 years.

On behalf of Michael’s family and friends, I would like to sincerely thank everyone involved for their patience, understanding, compassion and sympathy.

Those include RCMP Constable Birtwhistle and Constable Kienzle, both of the Queen Charlotte City detachment, Daniela and staff at the Prince Rupert SPCA, James and staff at the Pacific Coast Veterinary Hospital in Prince Rupert, Debbie and staff at the MacKay Funeral Home in Terrace,  Melodie and staff at the Henderson’s Funeral Home in Langley, the staff at BC Ferries, Wendy at the Prince George Coroners Office, managers and staff at the Queen Charlotte Lodge, and especially those that tried to help Michael on the ferry.

They were strangers to Michael, yet willing to step forward to do what they could to assist.

You all contributed in making an incredibly difficult situation easier for Michael’s family and friends to endure.

Krista Sutherland

Ottawa, Ontario


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