A group of Jack’s closest friends sat around a memorial, which they built, Friday afternoon at Crescent Beach. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Train victim’s friends remember Jack: ‘He was a gift’

Teens share memories at makeshift memorial in South Surrey

Some of Jack Stroud’s closest friends spent much of Friday in silence, sitting on driftwood logs surrounding a makeshift memorial that they had built that morning.

They constructed a memorial cross and placed it on a rocky section of Crescent Beach, not far from where Jack, 15, was killed two days earlier when he was struck by a passenger train.

Hanging off the cross was a BC Lions football cap and a rugby jersey, denoting two of Jack’s favourite sports. Sports water bottles, team photos and dozens of flowers laid on the ground beneath the cross.

The silence was occasionally broken when one of Jack’s friends – between wiping away tears – shared one of the many memories they had of their friend with each other, and with a visiting reporter whom they welcomed into their fold.

“The only thing bigger than Jack, was his heart,” said one.

The teens smiled as they passed around their phones, sharing photographs they had saved of Jack.

“He could just walk into a room and brighten up the room with his smile,” another friend said.

They said Jack seemed to always have girls by his side, and “oh yeah, he was a hugger.”

In fact, they all agreed, nobody gave a hug quite like Jack.

They said that Jack – who has roots in the U.K. – spent time in California and had hoped to stay there longer.

“He got deported,” a friend said jokingly.

RELATED: Teenager dead after being struck by passenger train in South Surrey

RELATED: High school, swim club offer counselling following death of South Surrey teen

They said Jack was also asked to be a bouncer at a mutual friend’s birthday party, but as it turns out, “he wasn’t a great bouncer” – too friendly.

Friends dropped by the memorial throughout the day, and were even joined at one point by the father of one of the teens in mourning.

The visiting grownup told the teens they need to support each other through the coming days, weeks, months and years.

They responded that they would, and thanked the father for coming to visit.

As Peace Arch News left the emotional gathering, one of the teens chased after with an impassioned request.

“Please tell the story of how he lived, and not how he died,” Rachel Greig, 15, said, her voice cracking.

Jack was – to Rachel, as he was for so many of his peers – trustworthy, supportive, a listener and nonjudgmental.

“I know for me, he absolutely changed my life for the better. I would not be who I am today without him. He was my support system. He could always just kind of tell when something was wrong. You didn’t have to say anything, he would just give you a hug,” Rachel said.

“No matter what, he was there. He always looked after everyone else.”

Rachel said Jack touched many people in the community, and through the past two days she has seen hundreds of people saying a prayer for Jack’s family, which includes a younger and older brother.

“He would walk into a room and make everyone feel better,” Rachel said.

“Nobody could ever say anything bad about him because there was nothing bad about him.”

Another cherished memory of Jack, Rachel said, was his ability to never pass judgment.

“He didn’t judge people. If he heard a rumour he wouldn’t believe it until he knew from the person,” she said.

“He was a gift.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Visit us at peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Unique treasures to be found at Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market

The 44th annual event is the Chilliwack Community Arts Council’s largest fundraiser

Chilliwack toy drive brings in gifts, money to Ann Davis Transition Society

People dropped by Superstore to donate toys and more for those in need this holiday season

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Nov. 18 to 24

Chilliwack RCMP find chemicals and cannabis extract in illicit lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Chilliwack RCMP seek suspects in rash of poppy donation box thefts

Incidents at four different locations in Sardis in the days leading up to Remembrance Day

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

UPDATE: Hells Angels on scene after body found in Maple Ridge

Body was discovered beneath the Golden Ears Bridge

Mountie left with ‘significant’ injuries after driver attempts to flee traffic stop

Richmond RCMP are looking for a dark coloured Mercedes Benz

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Most Read