Community members gathered for a candlelight vigil in east Vancouver on Saturday evening to honor the life of a 10-year-old boy who died in a bicycle crash on Tuesday morning.
The vigil was held at the intersection where Damien Trick was struck by a pickup truck, at Northeast Ninth Street and Northeast 167th Avenue. In the days since the accident, the sidewalk on the northeast corner has been home to an ever-growing array of flowers, candles and stuffed animals.
Family, friends, classmates and neighbors began to arrive well before the scheduled 7 p.m. start time, and the crowd quickly grew to more than 100 people. The gathering included a large number of families with children from Damien’s class at Illahee Elementary School.
The crowd also included several of Damien’s relatives from out of town, including grandparents, aunts and uncles.
“My grandson was a very special person,” said Damien’s grandfather Terry Gripp. “He was a beautiful boy.”
There were also families from East Vancouver Venom, a Pop Warner football, cheerleading and dance association. According to Venom members at the vigil, Damien played on the football team and his sister Mackenzie is a member of the association’s cheerleading squad, and his mother Ashley Trick is one of the association’s “cheer moms.”
One of Damien’s friends, Rae Fitch, 11, said the two of them attended the same fifth-grade class and described Damien as an avid bike rider who loved Legos. Outside of school, he said, the two of them could often be found biking around the neighborhood or hanging out in Rae’s treehouse.
“We did everything together. He was a very nice kid,” Rae said. “He always appreciated everything that was given to him.”
Ashley Trick and Shannon Melby, a coworker who helped organize the vigil, both gave brief statements thanking the crowd for their support.
“It’s very heartwarming to know everybody comes out as a community,” Melby said.
Melby then distributed several dozen balloons to members of the crowd, and after a moment with candles held aloft, everyone released the balloons into the night sky. Melby then laid out a series of poster boards where Damien’s friends and classmates could write messages.
The crowd gradually dispersed by about 8 p.m., but attendees discussed several other recent and upcoming events intended to honor Damien. Earlier this week, his school planted a maple tree in its garden to commemorate him, Gripp said.
A coworker of Damien’s mother also organized a GoFundMe page to help support the family at gofundme.com/f/time-off-for-the-tricks. As of Saturday evening it had raised more than $27,000, far exceeding its $10,000 goal.
On Monday from 5 to 10 p.m., East Vancouver Venom and the Fisher’s Landing IHOP restaurant, 2900 S.E. 164th Ave., will host a fundraiser intended to further support the family. Twenty-five percent of all purchase proceeds at the restaurant during the event will be donated to the Trick family.