Day 6

N.S. man organizes drive-through memorial for slain friend, while physical distancing is the rule

As many Nova Scotians find themselves unable to gather due to physical distancing guidelines, Darren Bezanson is hoping to mitigate the pain by organizing a memorial procession for his friend Joey Webber, one of the 22 victims in last weekend's rampage. 

'Hopefully this will kind of put some light out there for his family and his children,' says Darren Bezanson

Joey Webber stands beside his stock car in 2005 after a race at Scotia Speedworld near Enfield, N.S. Webber was one of 22 people killed in last weekend's mass shooting. (Scotia Speedworld Memories/Facebook)

As many Nova Scotians find themselves unable to gather due to physical distancing guidelines, Darren Bezanson is hoping to mitigate the pain by organizing a memorial procession for his friend Joey Webber, one of the 22 victims in last weekend's rampage. 

"It's sad because we can't get together and share stories or talk to the general public that might want to know about Joe because of the COVID," he told Day 6.

"But it's something that we can do to show the support for Joey, his wife, children, sister, brother-in-law, his dad, his step-mom."

Bezanson says he knew Webber, a 37-year old father of three, "pretty well ever since he was born."

"I watched Joey grow up, along with his sister, from a young child to the man he was — until Sunday morning."

Webber was killed while he went out to run an errand for his family.

Bezanson remembered his friend as a kind man who always lent a hand when asked for help.

"The man was always smiling, always waving if you've seen him."

Joey Webber is shown in a handout photo from a GoFundMe page raising money for his widow and daughters. Webber was among the victims of the mass killings in Nova Scotia this past weekend. (GoFundMe/The Canadian Press)

Amid COVID-19 measures, several other communities with members who were killed last week are finding ways to support each other.

A virtual vigil was held Friday honouring those slain over the weekend in the small community of Portapique, where the killings began.

On Thursday, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil encouraged people "reeling from the tragic events of last weekend," as well as COVID-19 deaths, to stay in touch by phone and video messaging.

'Some light out there' for his family

Bezanson hopes the procession will provide some solace to Webber's family and the wider community.

Drivers are invited to meet at the entrance of Dollar Lake Provincial Park Saturday at 1 p.m. AT, and then make their way past Webber's house in Wyses Corner, N.S., where Bezanson has set up a spot to drop off flowers and sign a condolences board. 

"Not just friends and family, but the general public can come by and show their support, if they wish to stop," he said.

A tribute to the victims who were killed in Portapique, N.S. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Bezanson is also selling decals he's made in Webber's memory, with proceeds going to his family.

"I'm not doing this for thanks or anything. I'm doing it because ... hopefully this will kind of put some light out there for his family and his children," he said. 

"And I'm hoping that we have a really great turnout for it."

If you are seeking mental health support during this time, here are resources available to Nova Scotians.


Written by Jonathan Ore with files from CBC News. Interview produced by Yamri Taddese.

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