That day, I did not have the courage to speak for Ashley. Jason did. I am not afraid to speak publicly, , but I knew when I looked into the crowd - at all your faces - I wouldn't be strong enough. Jason spoke for me - for us.
My name is Jason Galloway.
It is with great pride that I stand here before you today and speak on behalf of Ashley’s family.
I know Chuck and later his family through a bit of a small world story.
I first met Chuck as a little snot nosed kid living on Harbour View Street. Chuck used to park his police car down the street from my house and set up laser radar on a hill face. Chuck would catch all the speeders leaving town heading south towards Victoria.
Myself I was fascinated with the police and especially Chuck so I used to ride my bike down to where he was and would ask him a million questions about what he was doing. Chuck would explain the whole process and even lift me up so I could look through the laser device.
Some years passed when I finished high school. The following summer I showed up at Chuck’s office. I was hired as a student constable and was assigned to work out of the same office in which Chuck worked.
That morning everyone in the office went out for breakfast. The topic of how long the members had been in service and they’re past postings came up. Immediately, I took the opportunity to prove that Chuck had to be the senior man and that he had to have been in Nanaimo for some time. I piped up and explained that years ago Chuck would pick this snot nosed kid up, let him play with the laser gun and answer all his questions.
Chuck busted out with “how did you know that?” I then told him I was that little kid.
Well that snot nose kid was now working with Chuck and was a full applicant to the force at the time. About a year later I made it in the force and I have been stationed in the lower mainland for two and half years.
Today I wanted to take a moment to talk about a moment and how I view life during a tragedy such as the loss of Ashley.
From what I know of Ashley she was a free spirit and the encyclopedia describes a free spirit as:
A free spirit refers to a human being who feels unconstrained by convention; rather, the Spirit of liberty is paramount to that person. Such people should be distinguished from libertines who could be considered to carry that spirit to excess.
There is a certain sadness in the characterization of someone as a free spirit, for in the end, we are all constrained, at least by Death. But for someone who asserts the right to self-expression, even in the face of coercion or convention, their stance can be viewed as a celebration of Life.
Teachers, police, friends, family and most important parents want to take every moment possible to protect children from getting hurt. But parents have it a little tougher. They want to protect their children from getting hurt but they also want to give way to free will. They want to give way to free will so that their child grows up having many moments where they experience many things. They want their children to have the tools for life. They want their children to live free and not in a bubble. They want them to experience moments of life.
Unfortunately life has its moments of tragedy. It is a moment of tragedy as to why we are all here today. A moment where a free spirit is not thinking about convention or what might happen. A moment that is dangerous for a free spirit. A moment in time that none of us wanted.
MOMENT…. A brief, unspecified amount of time.
That moment does not take away from the person Ashley was. Ashley is loved and she is missed. The world is not the same because Ashley is gone.
The moment does not take away from the loving parents Chuck and Tammie are. Chuck and Tammie support their children. They love their children. They would do anything for their children. A moment can never take that away.
It is because of a moment why we are here today. It was a moment that caught a free spirit. A moment that we will not allow to take away from the beautiful person Ashley was.
Ashley’s life has many great moments. We are not here because of just one. We are here for many. Stop and think for a split second of a wonderful, great, loving or even a funny moment that you have shared with Ashley.
Birthdays, holidays, school, friends, beach, summer, sports, her smile, her laugh, her free spirit……
Together we have just created another moment for Ashley. One that remembers. One that celebrates and one that will never forget.
Today we all can be free spirits. We can all assert ourselves to the right of self-expression and our stance will be viewed as a celebration of Life.
I want to take another moment and thank everyone on behalf of Ashley’s family for the overwhelming support during this time.
It was very important to Chuck, that I mention how much he wanted to stand here today and convey this message of thanks, but explains that his emotions would over take him at this point.
Ashley's family cannot stop speaking of all the acts of kindness and support they have received from everyone. “All the little things have been taken care of so that we can focus on grieving as a family.” The family extend their deepest thanks to family, friends, co workers, and the community for everything that everyone has done for them during this time.
Ashley's family was also adamant that this day focus on the positive and that this be a celebration of life so I will leave you with these thoughts.
Today I spoke of great moments and how those great moments will always live on. This is a life cycle. Like how a beautiful flower flourishes in the spring creating great moments and how that flower passes its moments on at the end of summer in the form of seeds. We are in the moment now. Take those great seeds and watch them grow. I guarantee you another beautiful flower and another great moment.
Written and read for the Campbell family by Jason Galloway. Sunday July 2nd, 2006. Nanaimo, BC