/A community loss

A community loss

By Sue Tiffin

Last week, after hearing of the collision that occurred near Kinmount, my heart – like the heart of so many others in our community – sank. When I received the press release from the Haliburton Highlands OPP that identified the two people who had died in that collision, I shared the news as is my job, and then cried for the rest of the morning, with sadness at that news. The community responded in the same way, with great sorrow at the tragic loss of Victor Disik and Sonya Holliday-Rhodes. 

It is always heart-wrenching when we lose anyone in our community, it’s why so many of us make note to check the obituaries, or comment on posts of grief shared by friends and family. We’re all so connected in a small town, in so many ways, so we feel these losses together. 

There’s a good chance that even if you weren’t so lucky to have known Sonya and Vic, you knew their faces. While you might not have had the good fortune to have them help you in a time of need, you absolutely know people in the community they have helped.

With short notice at a time heavy with grief and shock, more than a dozen people spoke to me about Sonya and Victor, and though they each shared different experiences from throughout different times with either individual or the two as a pair, the resounding message was the same: Sonya and Vic cared deeply for others, whether they be strangers, family or friends. They opened their door when people needed a place to sleep, they ran errands or offered transportation for those in need, they gave even at times they didn’t have a lot to give, and in helping individuals who needed a connection or some guidance or someone to ask how they were doing, they made an immense contribution to the community. 

Besides being caring and giving toward people, they were both named for their love of animals. It was their concern for stray cats in Minden that led to the forming of the Minden Cat Angels.

“She believed in us, and what we can accomplish at the sanctuary, supporting and promoting us whenever and however she could,” said Monika Melichar, of Sonya’s connection to Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary. 

That sums up how Vic and Sonya felt about the people in this community, as well – they were supportive, they promoted others, and they believed in the people and this place. 

While not every lovely thought from their friends and family could be shared in a story about them in this paper, not everyone who might have wanted to share could be reached, the overwhelming message from those who did was that they were kind, caring, authentic, and dedicated their time to helping others. In remembering them and embracing this community at this time, please find small ways to help others whenever you can.