In 2019, Nick Hopwood went fishing on the Kitimat River and never came home.
He was only 21-years-old, a nearly 7-foot-tall volunteer firefighter.
“No matter how good a swimmer you are, the river is stronger,” a statement later released by Kitimat Search and Rescue reads.
Hopwood’s drowning was devastating to his family. “I have a whole new level of empathy for anyone who has suffered major loss,” his sister Ashleigh wrote in 2020.
Now, three years after the tragic accident, community members are coming together to celebrate Hopwood’s life, raise money for local rescue services and have a-rockin’ good time.
On September 24, there will be a beach-themed party at Luso Canadian Club with a live performance from The Rats, a Kitimat band that refers to themselves as “Rock n roll lunatics.”
Here’s a video of them rocking out.
“In memory of Nick Hopwood, this is a fundraiser for Kitimat Swift Water Rescue. Tickets are $35 and on sale now at Pyramid Printers, Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club and Ron’s Fishing Tackle shop,” reads a Facebook post about the event. “Come have some fun and support a great cause!”
Hopwood’s memory inspired a water safety campaign called N.I.C.K. created in part by his mother and stepfather.
The acronym stands for “Never use waders without a belt. Include a knife to cut waders and remove trapped water. Closer to shore is safer. Keep your PFD on at all times.”
“Safety gear won’t ruin your trip, it ensures you come home alive,” Kitimat Search and Rescue explained.