Bashaw coming together for its extended family

This week's editorial looks at how a small community comes together after a devastating fire.

Most Ponoka residents will have heard about the Bashaw Motor Inn fire that has taken the life of one of its citizens.

Bashaw residents should be proud for the way they have come together to support the Tiwana family who lost their business and home to fire on the Thanksgiving weekend.

The tragedy, which has resulted in one fatality, has shaken the very core of this beautiful family who made Bashaw its home. Community leaders have pulled together and embraced the Tiwanas as if they were their own and have shown their support in the most human way possible.

When it comes down to it, nobody really wants this type of tragedy on another. Despite reports of racist graffiti on the building there appears to be a strong sense of loss and sadness. And for the humble community of Bashaw, the support has been most wonderful. People are doing what they do best; acting the way they would want people to treat them in an extremely trying time. This behaviour holds true to most rural communities and Ponoka is no different.

For my part I met the Tiwanas only briefly at their son’s graduation last year.

His parents were decked out in their finest attire, like bright roses in a garden with their colourful and vibrant clothing. My comment to them was just how beautiful and handsome they looked together.

One never knows the impact a person has on another but the two were the proudest of parents and everyone could see it. That pride ebbed its way into me and in that smallest of moments, a brief and simple, “Thank you” in response and I was left with a lasting memory of their kindness.

Something I have heard from most city folk is that in small communities the feeling of family and support, especially in the wake of tragedy, is always there. These actions exemplify the spirit of David Smith’s book If the World Were a Village.

How would we treat people, regardless of race or culture, if the world were a village? Most certainly in this case the village has come together to assist this family in its greatest need. People are treating them as if they were their own.

While we cannot imagine the struggles and trials the Tiwanas will now have to face, we can hope that our actions will in some small way let them know that we are there for them. We support them and we are there to help where possible.

Thankfully we have a rural community that is going above and beyond to help out and while that is a source of pride, I am not surprised by the involvement. Bashaw is a community where an event such as this affects everyone. I have seen this type of solidarity in Ponoka and I’m sure the same can be said for other rural communities.

Once a small town running business as usual, now Bashaw has become a source of major news with agencies converging on the area trying to determine what happened, who saw what, and who to talk with next. Police are fielding calls daily from these agencies looking for updates.

It’s at these times that we must remember that while Bashaw is in the limelight, it is the family and their future we must be thinking of. We can honour them and show our support through these community efforts and work to bring some sense of home, that is Bashaw, to them.

As for our reporting, we will continue to cover the tragic events at the motel. However, their story will be told with compassion, care, empathy and consideration. We, like the rest of the community have been rocked by these events and we wish only the best for our fellow family.