On November 1, 2006 the lives of Kamloops residents Dick and Terry Taylor, changed forever. That day their son Bryn, a 24-year-old snowboard phenom from Sun Peaks, was killed in a motor vehicle accident near Ashcroft B.C. He was a passenger in a pickup truck that left the highway and rolled. Bryn and the driver both perished in the accident, alcohol and unused seat belts were contributing factors.
Bryn had many friends from all walks of life but it was his friends at Sun Peaks who were hit hardest by his sudden death. Not a group to bow their heads and mope, this band of hard charging boarders and skiers vowed to make a difference in Bryn’s name — a promise they’ve fulfilled and continue to do so.
Shortly after Bryn passed away the non-profit Bluebird Day Fund (BDF) was formed.
Named after one of his favourite things, riding powder on a bluebird day, the BDF has a mandate to help and mentor young and upcoming skiers and snowboarders.
The organization has sent numerous young athletes to camps and competitions around the province. It’s assisted Sun Peaks Resort in purchasing new features for the Sun Peaks Terrain Park (all the blue coloured features in the park have been purchased by the BDF). Also, the BDF works hard to bring sport to kids otherwise unable to access the mountain. They offer a mentoring program with Big Brothers and Sisters of Kamloops that sees “littles” out riding and skiing at Sun Peaks with their “bigs.” To make all this happen, the BDF holds an annual Fall Ball and the Giver Balls Golf Tournament each summer to raise funds. To date the BDF has raised more than $95,000 in Bryn’s memory.
“It’s really special to me because Bryn was such a giving person,” said Kent “Koach” Thiessen, BDF vice president. “For us to give back to the sports of skiing and snowboarding, that he was so passionate about, and to help out the ‘littles’ with our new mentoring program is just amazing to all those who knew him.”
While Bryn’s parents have fully supported the BDF and all its effort, they felt there was more that could be done to prevent other accidents like the one that took their son. On a road trip to the U.S. the Taylors saw many roadside memorial signs and thought that erecting some locally would be a great tribute to Bryn. The B.C. Ministry of Transportation, however, doesn’t allow these types of signs, and after months of trying, their efforts fell on deaf ears.
Jump forward to November 2, 2013 and a sign dedicated to Bryn’s memory will be erected on Sun Peaks Road as cars leave the community. The message of “Please Don’t Drink and Drive, in memory of Bryn Taylor” is thought to be one of the first of its kind in B.C.
Dick Taylor said that aside from all the work the BDF has done, he and Terry thought a road sign was something that could also effect change so they took it on as their personal memorial to their son.
“The idea of having it in Sun Peaks came from the ministry actually,” said Dick. “(They) told us to approach Sun Peaks as it was now a municipality, and once we formally presented the idea to the mayor and council they jumped on board right away. If one kid turns around and stays at the hostel or somewhere else then this sign could save a life.”
Thiessen echoed Dick’s sentiments.
“If this sign can turn one person back and make one person make a great decision not to drink and drive then it has done its job.”
Click here for more information on the Bluebird Day Fund.