When Paul Cosulich was invited to a dedication of a forest grove in his uncle's name, he never suspected it would have quite such an effect on his life.
It's been a pretty cool couple of days, Cosulich said, standing beside a stone monument in a wood lot across from the Squamish Airport.
Cosulich is the nephew of P.O. John Askey Quick, a local resident who played a key role in Squamish's, and likely the province's, initial Arbour Day in 1939. On Aug. 6, 1941, flying with the Royal Canadian Air Force, Quick was the first Squamish resident killed in World War II.
A stake in Quick's honour was erected in the wood lot where he once helped the superintendent of Empire Mills, John Jacobsen, and approximately 180 students plant 20,000 trees.
On Friday (Oct. 12), the Squamish Legion unveiled a stone structure in Quick's name, dedicating the lot as the Quick Forest Grove. The event tied in with the B.C. Forest Service's centennial birthday. Seventy-three years after Quick helped re-forest the lot, students from Brackendale Elementary and Totem Hall were on hand to plant seedlings.
The whole experience was amazing, Cosulich said, noting he had only been informed about the celebrations a day and a half beforehand. Different paths and hectic lives had separated Cosulich from his sister, Niki Fairweather, he noted. The dedication brought his family together again, Cosulich said.
"You just never know," he said, shaking his head in astonishment.
Cosulich learned new stories about this uncle. He met Squamish residents who shared tales of his uncle and a person who read him a letter written by a man who watched Quick's plane crash.
Through tears, Fairweather said she was overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in Squamish. The event has reminded her of life's true focus, she said.
"We sort of get busy with our own lives and forget what's important," Fairweather said. "It is family and friends that's important."
Quick's monument stands only a short distance away from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operation's commemorative sign. Forestry has a long history in Squamish, Mayor Rob Kirkham said. The ministry's Sea to Sky District covers approximately 1.1 million hectares and includes more than 140 recreation sites and trails.
The commemorative lot will help ensure B.C. Forest Service and Squamish's shared history are remembered, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Joan McIntyre said.
"This urban grove will provide a sense of community spirit for our residents," she said.