Langley Kinsmen help searchers

The Kinsmen Club of Langley is a small club, having about a baker’s dozen in membership, but it thinks big.

The club just donated $10,000 to the Legacy Water Search and Recovery Society, and is issuing a challenge to other service clubs and businesses to step up to the plate.

The Legacy society was created by the family of drowning victim Brendan Wilson who along with his friend Austin Kingsborough died in Nicola Lake last April.

“Langley has been tremendous in supporting us in this tragedy,” said Barry Wilson, Brendan’s dad.

When the Langley teens went missing, a husband and wife out of Idaho were hired to search after the official RCMP and SAR searches were called off after several days.

The couple’s side scan sonar was used to locate the boys’ bodies a few weeks after they went missing, and the Wilson family decided to try and get that equipment in Canada so families of other drowning victims can have that same sense of closure.

Wilson said he understands the restrictions on the police and SAR groups, such as finances, another reason why the Legacy society was started.

“We’re trying to fill the gap,” he said.

The Legacy society has raised about $28,000 and needs about $350,000 to make the project a reality.

The intent is to provide underwater search services throughout Western Canada. There is no such service in most of Canada.

Such specialized searches can cost $30,000 through private companies and the society wants to ensure no family has to forego searching for a loved one due to lack of finances.

Wilson said this society will work with the RCMP and search groups but will take its guidance more from the families.

“By being independent, we can’t be discharged [by the authorities],” he explained.

To help raise money for the project, the society, which expects to receive official status in a couple of months, will be hosting a spring golf tournament and more events in the future.

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