To the Editor:
Though sorrow and heartbreak fill my days, it is the acts of kindness from the devoted friends of my son, Jason, and the community he lived in that mean so much.
On January 12, 2021, Jason lost his life at 45 years old doing what he loved, riding the VTX motorcycle that he built, featured in RoadBike Magazine in 2004. Anyone who stands in my shoes knows there is nothing in this world that is more painful than the loss of one’s child. My heart goes out to every parent who has suffered such a loss as we struggle to cope.
Jason spent his life doing extraordinary things with his hands, his knowledge, and his physical capabilities. From winning BMX races at five years old to setting the national record for mountain biking in his “veteran” age category, he had a very busy life of outdoor sports and competition.
He grew up in Vernon, blazing trails throughout these woods and mastering the slopes at Mountain Creek. He served this community well with his successful bike shop, Ridetopia, a place of business for sports enthusiasts, but more importantly, a place of belonging for many locals and those who came from afar into our town to ride the mountain. It was upon Jason’s passing that I came to understand how much he meant to others because of the things he did to help make their lives better.
The way he lived earned him so much respect that his loss continues to be deeply felt by so many. He treated his friends as his family and they have stood by my side and continue to do so in honor of my son. On October 10, 2021, Mountain Creek sponsored a memorial biking event for Jason, and Paul Hanson who passed in June 2020, another very beloved member of our community and friend to all. Paul’s brother, Jon Hanson, worked with Hugh Reynolds of Mountain Creek, along with others, to make this day the best way to honor Jason and Paul, as they are both so dearly missed. The plan is to hold an annual event in their memory.
Though the weather was rainy and chilly, the event was well attended. The races, the camaraderie, the trophies, and the sharing of memorable stories of them was the most fitting way to honor Jason and Paul. It was the first day I was able to feel some peace, which was priceless to me. The day was filled with love, caring, and respect.
On behalf of my family, including Eric, and Shannon, Jason’s brother and sister, Christina, Jason’s niece, who were in attendance, from the bottom of my heart, I thank Jon Hanson, Hugh Reynolds and Joe Hession of Mountain Creek and all who contributed to that memorable day!