Micah Messent, of Courtenay, had been selected to join a delegation from the United Nations Association in Canada to the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, this week.
“I’ll have the chance to meet with other passionate youth and leaders from around the world and explore how we can tackle the biggest challenges that are facing our generation,” the man in his mid-20s wrote in a social media post two days earlier.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity and want to thank all of the people in my life who have helped me get this far. Wish me luck!”
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Pretty stoked to announce that I’ve been selected by @unacanada as a member of their delegation for the 4th @unitednations Assembly of the Environment! Im headed to Kenya TOMORROW where I’ll have the chance to meet with other passionate youth and leaders from around the world and explore how we can tackle the biggest challenges that are facing our generation. Im so grateful for this opportunity and want to thank all of the people in my life who have helped me get this far. Wish me luck! 🇨🇦 ✈️ 🇰🇪 —————————————— #surprise @unenvironment @canadaservicecorps @canada @oceanwise @leaderstoday
That post went up on Saturday. Dozens of friends and family congratulated him, saying how happy they were for him. At around 2 p.m. on Sunday, dozens more messages of condolence and heartbreak filled the page.
“Thank you for being such a caring young man, a friend to my daughter and a humanitarian,” wrote Michelle Campbell. “It was a pleasure to have worked with you. You cared about our global environment, and how you could make a difference in this world. Your light will be missed by many.”
Messent grew up on the traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation in the Comox Valley as the youngest of five siblings. In 2013, he graduated from G.P. Vanier Secondary School in Courtenay.
School District 71 released a statement Monday, expressing their deep condolences for the families of all the victims.
“Comox Valley Schools shares its deepest condolences to Micah Messent’s family and to all the families of those who tragically perished in the crash Sunday,” read the statement. “It is with heavy hearts we receive this news.”
Messent went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Indigenous Studies at Vancouver Island University and was working as an Indigenous relations analyst for the B.C. Ministry of Environment.
The UN Environment Assembly said in a statement online that staff were making provisions to help the victims’ families.
“We lost UN staff, youth delegates travelling to the assembly, seasoned scientists, members of academia and other partners,” it read. “We join the Secretary-General in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims who perished in this tragedy.”
The First Nations Leadership Council offered its condolences in a press release Monday afternoon.
“The First Nations Leadership Council is very saddened to hear of the passing of Micah Messent in yesterday’s Ethiopian Airlines disaster…
“Micah was a well-liked member of the Year 11 (2017-18) intake of youth in the Indigenous Youth Internship Program (IYIP). Micah served his IYIP placement with the BC Parks branch of the Ministry of Environment. The FNLC sends deepest condolences to the family, friends and community of Micah Messent during this sad time. As well, we are sending our thoughts to the Indigenous youth interns who worked alongside Micah.”
Premier John Horgan also offered his condolences.
“Micah was committed to tackling the challenges he saw around him in the world, both in his work to protect the environment and to advance reconciliation,” said Horgan in a press release. “On behalf of all British Columbians, we offer our thoughts and our prayers to his family and friends.”