HILDEN, N.S. – The tragic loss of a young Hilden man has prompted a social media campaign to demonstrate unified neighborhood support in the family’s time of grief.
“I think everybody in the community just kind of feels helpless and I thought it would just be something they could do to show support for the family,” said Hilden resident Tammy Sutherland.
Sutherland initiated a Facebook post this week asking for the community at large to keep their outdoor lights burning all night long on Friday in memory of Nick Forbes, 20, who died in a vehicle accident last weekend.
“I’ve known him since he was a little kid and I’m friends with his dad (Terry),” said Sutherland, who added her own children also attended school with Forbes.
“I just hope it gives people a sense of being able to do something by showing the family that we support them as a community and as their friends,” she said, of the effort to light up the area.
Sutherland initiated her Facebook post Wednesday night and by early Thursday afternoon it had received more than 100 likes and almost an equal number of shares and numerous positive comments.
“So I think quite a few people are going to have their lights on,” she said.
But that support is not being reserved solely for the local area, according to Forbes’s cousin Caitlin Legere, formerly of Hilden who now lives in Ontario.
“We all had tears in our eyes as we scrolled through the names of people saying ‘Our lights will be on in Hilden, Stewiacke, Truro, PEI, Ontario, etc,’” Legere said, in an email to the Truro Daily News.
“Eventually the news of the post made it to Nick’s parents who were speechless at the gesture and very happy to know that Nick was loved by so many people,” she said. “Though he was a shy and quiet man, he always tried to bring out the best in others and make them happy. I really think it’s a great way to honour his caring nature and give some comfort to his parents.”
The initiative also allows the community to grieve together with the family, Legere said.
“Though the action is as simple as flipping a switch, it is a powerful way to show someone that you care, no matter where you are in the world.”