As day two of the search for missing Cache Creek fire chief Clayton Cassidy continued, his brother Patrick Cassidy read a statement from the family.
Patrick, a year younger than Clayton, was in Cache Creek with other members of the Cassidy family.
“Good afternoon,” he said. “I have been asked to read a brief statement from the Cassidy family. We would like to thank all the well-wishers for their messages of support, love, and light, which have been pouring in since Clayton’s disappearance.
“We are trying to remain positive, and are still hoping for a good outcome in this extremely difficult time for us.
“We would also like to thank all the contributing agencies for their tireless support and effort, starting with the search and rescue groups from several provincial communities. They include ground crews, swift water crews, air support, and communications.
“We’d like to thank the amazing crews from the Cache Creek and Ashcroft and Kamloops fire departments; the always constant and helpful RCMP of Ashcroft; BC Ambulance crews standing by; the townships of Cache Creek and Ashcroft; and also the provincial emergency programs that have landed here on the ground to help us.
“We would like to thank all the businesses and volunteers who have donated their food and themselves in our time of need. Our gratitude and love goes out to each and every one of you. From the Cassidy family, we thank you.”
Asked by a reporter what his gut was telling him, Patrick hesitated for some moments before replying, “It’s telling me he’s still here, but in what sense I have no idea. We’re in a lot of shock.”
Speaking with The Journal, Patrick agreed that Clayton had been out doing what he always did in such events: helping out.
“If someone was in need, he was there, whether it was a family, it was a friend, or if it was someone he never even knew. If he felt comfortable that was something he wanted to do, he just did it. He is just that type of guy.
“He was never there for the honour or the praise. He just did what he thought was right. He has a very strong sense of community, and a huge heart to go with it. There was never a time when he wanted to do something for the praise.
“He became a part of the fire department because of the camaraderie and the service aspect of it. I don’t know how many other clubs and groups he was a part of; he was just constantly helping out.
“All his kids’ friends who used to hang out with the boys growing up thought of Rose and Claytie as second parents. They always love to help. That’s just who they are.
“The communities of Cache Creek and Ashcroft are devastated. He is a beacon in those communities.”
Community members reflect on local leader
Local residents have been on edge waiting for any updates as dozens of search and rescue members continue looking for Cassidy by ground and water.
“He was an amazing leader," said Cache Creek resident Lisa Dafoe. "How do we move forward from this?
"Clayton was doing what he loved to do. He loved to help people. He was always giving, always smiling."
Longtime Cache Creek resident Joy Murrell said "this wouldn't have happened if he wasn't as responsible as he is."
"It's a terrible blow for the community. He did so much and was always there."
Community members Adeline Sarver (left) and Joan Thompson brought donations of food for volunteers at the Emergency Response Centre in Cache Creek. Photo by Barbara Roden.