A tragedy that rocked Squamish in the final hours of 1997 will be outlined for students at Howe Sound Secondary School and Don Ross Secondary on Tuesday (Oct. 12).
Katy Hutchison will present what she calls "The Story of Bob" to the students at the schools. Using her own words and a multi-media power point presentation, Hutchison will introduce students to the father of her two children, prominent local lawyer and triathlete Bob McIntosh, who was killed at a house party in a neighbour's home.
McIntosh went with two other friends to check on the party after getting reports that the house was full of people making lots of noise.
McIntosh was separated from his friends on the way to the party and was beaten to death in a bedroom.
Two people, Ryan Aldridge and Ryan McMillan, were convicted in connection with McIntosh's death five years after the incident.
Since the death of McIntosh, Hutchison has remarried and come to understand the circumstances that led to McIntosh's death. She decided that young people need to be educated about the risks associated with the combination of young people, alcohol and a lack of supervision and created "The Story of Bob".
Nearly 270 engagements and an estimated 50,000 students later, she is getting set to do the presentation for the first time in Squamish.
"I waited until I was invited," Hutchison said of her date in Squamish. "I haven't solicited speaking engagements anywhere. It has basically been word of mouth."
She said she is ready to do the presentation in Squamish and she believes the community is ready to see it.
"The story touches kids from all communities and the point of telling the story is not to frighten or traumatize people; it is to walk them through a scenario that could happen in any community and to look thoughtfully at how it happened and what we can learn from it," she said.
Hutchison returned to Squamish for the first time since 1998 this July for the annual triathlon that is organized in his memory.
"I had a really peaceful good feeling after coming to Squamish for all kinds of reasons," she said of the summer visit. "First to acquaint myself with how gorgeous a place it is and to reconnect with some people I hadn't seen for some time."
She said she was received with open arms.
Her children, Sam and Emma, were in Squamish this week for a school function and Hutchison said they were excited about showing their classmates where they came from.
"They both packed triathlon jerseys," Hutchison said.
The morning Hutchison told her twins that their father was dead she promised them that she would find a gift out of the tragedy. At the time she didn't know what that gift would be but she says that she found it and it comes in the form of the message she is sharing with people around the world.
The presentation has been given to people across B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Next month she will travel to New Zealand to speak at a conference on restorative justice. While there she plans to speak with at a number of schools through the New Zealand DARE program and through a Maori outreach group.
Hutchison doesn't give details of her presentation because she doesn't want students to know what to expect going into the assembly.
"It explores social responsibility with respect to alcohol and drugs and it gives people a chance to get to know Bob and the way that he lived his life because that is more important than the way he died," Hutchison told The Chief. "It also gets people to walk through a family crisis and the process of finding life after a tragedy.
"Everybody will face a crisis at some time in their life and we're often conditioned as a society not to talk about them. Good very often can come out of adversity."