Last year was hard on at least one family. Andrew Hutchison, a Red Deer husband and father, died in a workplace accident in Iraq.
Hutchison, an oil and gas worker, died in November in Iraq.
When Samaritans of Red Deer, a motorcycle group heard about the incident, they decided to raise money for the family and give them a better start in the new year.
Group president Dale Meyers said members have raised about $3,500 for the family.
The group is also providing support to Hutchison’s four children: two young boys ages eight and five, and twin seven-month-old girls.
The 14-member group plans on taking the two boys on a motorcycle ride this spring.
“When it’s nice, we intend to take the boys on a motorcycle ride – maybe give them a ride to school so all their friends can see that their dad might be gone, but they have a whole group of big people that are now family,” Meyers said.
The group president said he has been in touch with mom Shanna, who is overwhelmed by the community support.
“She feels alone, she is grieving, of course, but these kind of things have made a difference in her grieving process.”
So far about $22,000 has been raised.
Hutchison, 33, died in Kurdistan in Iraq while on the job. Meyers said Hutchison died during a sour gas blowout in November.
“In the process of going back and saving two of his colleagues, he was overcome with the H2S gas that took his life.”
Meyers has read the letters from Hutchison to his family prior to the incident. The Red Deer father and husband planned on returning back to Canada and staying close to his family.
“This was going to be his last stint overseas. He was working on strategies, but it didn’t happen the way he hoped.”
Since forming in June 2017, Samaritans of Red Deer has raised money for about six causes to help children and seniors.