Micah Messent in Haida Gwaii. Photo supplied

Courtenay family remembers Micah Messent one year later

The young environmentalist left a legacy in many ways, including support for similar students

It’s been a trying year for Suzanne Camp and her family.

The Courtenay woman and four of her children are gathering to remember the missing member of the family – youngest child Micah Messent.

It was March 10, 2019 when Messent died along with 156 other people in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, which occurred shortly after the Boeing 737 went down upon takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport for Nairobi, Kenya. Some of the passengers’ loved ones have made the trip to Ethiopia, but Camp and her children have decided to get together here, with immediate family only, to quietly remember the legacy Micah left behind. Micah had been on his way to Kenya with other young people to take part in the United Nations Environment Assembly.

“It was a special project that he had actually been chosen for,” says Camp.

RELATED STORY: Micah Messent remembered as a passionate environmentalist

While talking, Camp wears a special heart-shaped pin. It was something they had made for people attending a celebration of Micah’s life last May at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds on what would’ve been his 24th birthday.

The shock is still there. Micah’s sister Amber Tansky recalls a friend of hers on the doorstep to provide support, as soon as there was news of a crash. The consulate had tried to get information, but it took about eight hours to get confirmation it was Micah’s flight.

“If you can imagine a second that just changes your family,” she says.

In some ways, the last 12 months have delayed some of the grieving process for the family, as they have been busy with the inevitable tasks that follow in the wake of someone’s death.

“I don’t feel like I’ve had time to grieve,” Camp says.

One thing that has become clear to them is how many people Micah touched in his 23 years, as many people from throughout his life have expressed how much he meant.

“We are not a small club,” his sister says. “He just had a light in his whole being.”

One aspect of the legacy Micah has left is through helping students the way he had been helped, especially through bursaries. A GoFundMe page was started last year and raised more than expected.

“It morphed into being able to support students,” Tansky says. “Micah’s still being good, he’s still helping.”

The page has generated sufficient money to support scholarships for Indigenous students attending Vancouver Island University, from which Micah graduated. He had worked on environmental issues and planned to go into Indigenous law. Camp also instilled in her children a knowledge of their Metis heritage, so the bursary money will help support other students from similar backgrounds and who see themselves on a similar path as her son.

Tansky says the family has been amazed by the amount of support from the community for the project.

“This is a way for us to say a year later, we’re grateful,” she says.

There will, in fact, be enough for two bursaries, at least for a few years. The main one will support a student continuing into post-secondary education in Indigenous studies and will run in perpetuity. There was enough leftover, however, to support another bursary for at least three years. This will focus on environmental awareness studies. They would like to focus on students at George P. Vanier Secondary first – where Micah went to school – but depending on applicants, it could be district-wide.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The family has worked with VIU to set up a bursary in Micah’s memory. Photo supplied

Just Posted

VIDEO: Fire departments salute health care staff at hospital in Comox Valley

Trucks large and small drove by facility in procession, with siren and flashers on

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Courtenay Easter Promenade has a homemade theme this year

Decorate your house; chance to win prizes

Woofy’s now selling Girl Guide Cookies

Another business has stepped up to help the Girl Guides sell their… Continue reading

Comox Valley handyDART offers free grocery delivery

The handyDART service in the Comox Valley is offering free deliveries for… Continue reading

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Comox Valley grocers going extra mile during coronavirus

We have had numerous requests to post a fluid article directing consumers… Continue reading

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Federal NDP suggests universal benefit to streamline aid payments

Those who do not need money will repay at end of tax year

Saanich mayor receives his foster bees through pollinator rental program

‘I feel like I’m an adoptive father,’ Fred Haynes says of his rented mason bee colony

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read