November 11th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 44
$20,000 collected in honour of Hailey and Terry will go to Lions Park
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Herald contributor photo
Terry Blanchette and daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.
Pass Herald Reporter
Terry Blanchette would often bring his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette the short distance from their home to Lion’s Park in Blairmore.

“That’s where Hailey used to play,” said family friend Tammy Tracey. "They lived a block away from it so they went there all the time. It was her favourite place to go.”

It was also where a candlelight vigil was held in September after Blanchette, 27, was found dead in his home when there was still hope two-year-old Hailey would be brought home safe.

About a hundred citizens were there, praying for Hailey’s safe return, when an RCMP victim services official approached the crowd and made the devastating announcement.

“They have found some human remains,” the woman said, speaking on behalf of the family.

Many in the crowd wept.

“I don’t understand, I just don’t understand,” said Roxanne Michalski, shortly after the news broke. “Someone’s little life is gone and it was all about just getting Hailey home safe. It’s all any of us wanted.”

With its swing set, jungle gym and sandbox, the park is a familiar sight for anyone driving down main street. For several weeks after the vigil, a pink pile of stuffed animals, toys and photos dedicated to little Hailey lay at its centre.

Thanks to the generosity of people touched by this tragedy, over $20,000 has been raised to make improvements to the park.
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The Ride for Terry and Hailey, where about 300 bikers gathered in Longview and made the 130-kilometre ride down the Cowboy Trail to the Pass, brought in about $9,000. A Mountain Radio fundraiser, the recent Harvest of Memories and donations from local businesses garnered another $4,000.

People who heard about the tragedy and wanted to show their support to the victims, families and the community donated the rest.

“A lot of the donations came from people with children because they know how important it is for kids to go to the park,” said Tracey, who had been entrusted with the donations before handing them off to the Blairmore Lions Club on Nov. 5.

Tracey said she’s received donations from Montreal, New Brunswick and Newfoundland as well as Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the U.S. state of Florida. She’s received e-Transfers from Ottawa. Money was raised by fans of the movie star Stephen Amell, who created an online fundraiser, as did fans of the Twilight Saga star Rob Pattinson.

“When everything was on the news, people were watching nationwide,” she said. “Everyone knows about that park now.”
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She also received dozens of condolence cards, which she gave to the Blanchette family.

High Caliber Industries out of Bashaw, a metal fabrication company that makes memorial benches, will be donating a bench to the park, said Tracey.

Daryl Wig, Blairmore Lions secretary, said the club will be ordering playground equipment and looking for matching grants.

“She enjoyed our park,” said Wig. “Other kids can as well.”
November 11th ~ Vol. 85 No. 44
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