New street named after young accident victim

Bonnie Learning
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Family of Justin White hoped for street name since 2011

Travis, Blake, and Brenda White proudly hold the new street sign that will grace the intersections of Brett Drive and Lethbridge Street in Happy Valley-Goose Bay as of May 31. Justin Avenue was named in memory of their son and brother, who was tragically killed in a snowmobiling accident on Feb 13, 2010.

A family in Happy Valley-Goose Bay was honoured on May 31, as a new street in the community was named in memory of their son and brother.

Justin White was just 15-years old when a tragic snowmobile accident on a trail near a new sub-development claimed his life on Feb 13, 2010.

His mother, Brenda, says with a new street named after her son, no one will ever forget him.

“I'm so happy (Justin Avenue) is named after him,” she said, in addressing the gathering of friends, family and town officials who attended the ceremony.

“Someone will always remember him. My biggest thing was that people not forget him.”

Brenda, husband Blake, and oldest son, Travis, sent a letter to the former 10th Town Council in June of 2011 to request a street be named after their son and brother.

“During the last year and four months, we have struggled to come to terms with the enormity of our loss, and although there will never be anything that can heal us completely, we have learned that honouring Justin's memory has brought us a great deal of comfort during our most difficult days,” stated the family's letter to the Town Council in 2011.

“One of our greatest fears is that with the passage of time, people will forget this wonderful young man who left this world way too soon. We believe having a street named in his memory would ensure that Justin will be remembered always.”

Current town council members Shannon Tobin, Jackie Compton Hobbs and Deputy Mayor Cora Hamel Pardy were on hand for the ceremony.

“We have to give credit to the former council for approving this street name,” said Deputy Mayor Hamel Pardy.

“We are honoured...to be a part of this ceremony.”

Two signs proclaiming the new name of Justin Avenue were placed at either end of the street, with Brenda attaching the sign at the intersection of Lethbridge Street, and Blake affixing the other at the intersection of Brett Drive. Silver and black balloons — Justin's favourite colours — were released at both intersections after the signs were attached.

Liam Smitheram was one of Justin's best friends.

“Justin was the first friend I made when I moved to Goose Bay, and that's a pretty big thing when you move to a new town,” said Liam.

“He was very outgoing, loved the outdoors and being on Ski-doo. I know he'd love to have a street named after him and I know he's watching us from above, smiling ear to ear. I'm very proud to be here and I want to thank you all for being here today.”

Tina White is the principal at Mealy Mountain Collegiate where Justin attended school in 2010. She also attended the ceremony.

“Justin was a very sweet boy, he had a real zest for life,” she said. “He still has a huge impact on our daily life at school and he will be forever missed and loved by all.”

The day was made even more special, said Brenda, as May 31 is her sister's — Sherry Connors — birthday.

“We had this ceremony on his aunt's birthday,” noted Brenda to The Labradorian after the ceremony, adding this was also the first time since the accident she has ever done anything publicly to honour her son.

“I feel like I have to do things for him,” she smiled.

“Now, I'm going to get in my car and go for a drive down Justin Avenue.”

bonnielearning@gmail.com

Organizations: Town Council, Mealy Mountain Collegiate

Geographic location: Goose Bay, Happy Valley, Lethbridge Street Brett Drive

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