ASK mourns staffer's death
Police in Lillooet are continuing to investigate a single-vehicle accident last week that left a Kamloops man dead and a local social agency with heavy hearts.
Dan McGowan died after his car went over an embankment on Highway 99 near Lillooet sometime on Thursday, Jan. 19.
The accident wasn’t discovered until early the next day, when a highway worker noticed suspicious tire marks.
McGowan’s vehicle and body were recovered a short time later.
McGowan had spent the last three years working with the AIDS Society of Kamloops (ASK) — most recently running the agency’s Lillooet location.
Bob Hughes, executive director of ASK Wellness, said McGowan’s death has impacted the society’s office in a major way.
“He was one of the key employees in our organization,” Hughes said.
“In any case like this, where there’s no explanation that will justify or settle our understanding of why this happened, it’s just one of those things you have to get over.”
Hughes said McGowan had been running ASK’s Lillooet office since it opened about a month ago.
It was work, Hughes said, that McGowan loved.
“It was probably the happiest I’d seen him in the years I knew him,” Hughes said.
“He was one of the kindest people you’d ever meet.”
Hughes said it’s too early to say what might become of ASK’s upstart Lillooet location.
“I can’t even go to that place yet,” he said.
“He’s irreplaceable in so many ways. All we can do is look as a community for a way to honour the man.
“If they [Lillooet] want us, then we’ll find somebody who’s willing to walk in his footsteps.”
Hughes said McGowan’s dog, Jake, was in the vehicle when it went down the embankment.
Investigators originally believed the short-hair pitbull had perished, but he turned up on the porch of a home later.
Hughes said he picked up Jake, and the dog is in the care of veterinarians.
“So, we have a living tribute to Dan in the form of this beautiful dog,” he said.
Hughes said ASK is planning a public memorial for McGowan on Saturday, Jan. 28. Details will be made public in the coming days.