A tribute to the Balisky family is being set up at the PrairieCoast Equipment Grande Prairie dealership. Two combines dressed with white crosses will be parked outside the gates of the dealership for the day Friday.
General Manager JD Frame says the public will be allowed to drive by to say prayers and pay respects for the family. A table will also be set up for people to leave flowers, cards, and other offerings.
Wade and Aubrey Balisky and their eight and two-year-old daughters Jewel and Fleur were killed in a helicopter crash near Eaglesham on New Year’s day. The family operates a farm near Debolt and were well known around the farming community, as well as for being generous supporters for non-profits and fundraisers.
“They’re intertwined, actually,” says Frame. “Wade Balisky is from the Balisky family… who were pioneers in the farming community in the Peace region, along with Aubrey… who is a Warkentin,” says Frame.
“The two families are long time families in the region. Wade was a partner in our dealership. He was on our board of directors as a shareholder.”
Frame adds a small gathering of staff to remember the family will be attended only by those who work at the PrairieCoast Equipment location.
“We’re just having a little memorial within our own group for the family, have a time of quiet to hang around and talk stories,” he says. “It’s not open to the public, there’s nobody from the Balisky family there either, it’s just our staff.”
Grande Prairie PrairieCoast Equipment Branch Manager Clint Rempel says the local team has been debating a way to remember the family since the news of their passing was delivered.
“We decided let’s put this together and see what happens and we didn’t expect it to take off like it has. It’s a huge tragedy for not only us as a farming community but I think the Peace Country as a whole,” he says.
PrairieCoast Equipment will be closed from 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. while staff pay their respects.