UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.
Inside the auditorium, a sea of red uniforms sat, surrounded by the friends and relatives of the Gale family and members of the community.
Overlooking the crowd was a photo of Devyn, standing tall with her arms crossed and a confident smile on her face.
“Some smiles, you just can’t replace,” said her sister Kayln Gale. She and Nolan, Devyn’s brother, were amongst those who stood at the front of the service to share words and memories.
“To so many people, myself included, you’re an inspiration and a hero,” said Nolan about his sister.
Both Nolan and Kayln joined their sister in the BC Wildfire Service. The three were referred to as the ‘Gale force’ by their colleagues and friends.
Stefan Hood and Casey Robinson of the BC Wildfire Service also shared their memories of Devyn, who they referred to as a ‘leader’. Hood recalled memories of when he was young and new to the service, much like Devyn.
“I wonder if, like me, she planned her next camping trip based on the newly discovered landscape that unfolded before her every flight to and back,” said Hood. “I wonder how many of those adventures remain planned and shelved, ready but never lived.”
“Thank you [to the entire Gale family] for loaning Devyn to us,” said Hood with tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry we can’t repay the favour. This was an inequitable transaction.”
Jill Drake, head coach of Revelstoke Acrobats Trampoline Gymnastics, spoke at the memorial. Drake coached Devyn throughout her youth.
Drake looked around the room and remarked at the number of familiar and unfamiliar faces she saw in the audience.
“This is a testament of our beautiful Devyn,” said Drake. “She was so very special, and I loved her so much.”
Bagpipes sang out, everyone in the auditorium left their seats and exited the gymnasium, and the memorial came to an end.
Following the service, community members gathered in Queen Elizabeth Park.
Since Devyn’s death, two other firefighters in Canada have died.
Adam Yeadon, 25, died while fighting a wildfire near Fort Liard, in the Northwest Territories, a hamlet north of the British Columbia boundary, on July 15.
On Wednesday, a helicopter crashed in northwestern Alberta, killing the pilot. The 41-year-old from Whitecourt, Alta. was helping with firefighting efforts.
As of July 17, the province had seen a total of 1,159 wildfires, destroying more than 1.39 million hectares, making it the worst wildfire season on record for the province in terms of the amount of land burned.
UPDATE 3 p.m.
After the procession and service came to an end, British Columbia Premier David Eby spoke to the media to share this thoughts.
“As a province, today we mourn with the Gale family,” said Eby. “They’re an inspirations to all British Columbians.”
"They are an inspiration to all British Columbians."
Premier David Eby makes a statement to the media following the memorial service for Devyn Gale in Revelstoke. pic.twitter.com/KUWbioesi9
— Josh Piercey (@piercey_josh) July 22, 2023
UPDATE: 1:15 p.m.
The procession group has now arrived at Revelstoke Secondary School for the memorial ceremony.
Hundreds of somber faces followed along the procession route, with members of the BC Wildfire Service carrying Gale’s uniform.
A Conair Dash 8-400 air tanker flew overhead of the ceremony.
As the group arrived at the school, the sounds of bagpipes stopped and the crowd stood and shared a moment of silence before entering the gymnasium.
More to come.
The procession and memorial service are being live-streamed by the BC Wildfire Service. Watch here:
Today, wisps of cloud paint the blue sky in Revelstoke as the sun shines down on the folded, bright red uniform of a young woman who tragically lost her life in service of her community and her province.
The Revelstoke community, members of the BC Wildfire Service, first responders, and representatives from across the province are gathered today (Saturday, July 22) for a memorial honouring Devyn Gale.
Gale, a 19-year-old firefighter from Revelstoke, was working with the BC Wildfire Service on a small fire near Hiren Creek, northwest of her hometown, on July 13.
Gale’s colleagues found her caught beneath a fallen tree after losing contact with her. She was airlifted to Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke, where she later died of her injuries.
Gale’s death sent ripples of grief across the country as people mourned the loss of a firefighter who died protecting the people of British Columbia and the loss of a young woman who was just setting out on her adult life.
Today, hundreds are lining the streets of downtown Revelstoke to watch on as an Honour Guard with members from the Kamloops and Kelowna fire departments lead the procession from The Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services Hall to Revelstoke Secondary School, the place where Gale graduated just two short years ago.
When the procession arrives at 1:30 p.m., a memorial service will be held in the school’s gymnasium, followed by a reception at Queen Elizabeth Park at 2:30 p.m.
We will continue to update this story as the day progresses.
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