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    Those who attended the May 14 vigil were asked to sign their name to a Transgender Flag before or after the gathering to offer their support. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Trinity Poil’s mother Tammy Poil and her stepfather Patrick Reddick attended the beginning of the ceremony and quickly returned home after laying down flowers. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)



Trinity Poil remembered for her beautiful soul at May 14 vigil

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday May 23, 2019

Members of the local community came together May 14 for a vigil honouring Trinity Poil, whose life was tragically cut much too short.

In mid-February, the Petawawa teen mysteriously went missing during a winter blizzard. No trace of her could be found after she left her Garrison Petawawa home. Her family, friends, neighbours and even complete strangers came together, tirelessly working to find the 16-year-old, creating a grassroots campaign in the hopes of locating her. The search came to a devastating end when police confirmed that a body found in the Ottawa River in Laurentian Valley were hers.

The day the news became public, Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County Executive Director Joanne Brooks, Jill Holroyd, Leader of PFLAG Renfrew County, and Barbara Clarke, Mental Health and Social Issues professor at Algonquin College, knew it would be imperative to hold a vigil for Poil. Not only would it acknowledge the pain felt by the community, but it would also allow for conversations around loss as well as a celebration of the life of a person who was such a positive influence on those around her.

“It isn’t just the loss of a beautiful young person,” said Clarke, “it is a death of a person who has struggled in the ways that are meaningful to so many.”

More than 75 people gathered at Valour JK-12 School to grieve together. Seeing so many people attend on such short notice was incredibly touching.

“It brings just a spark of hope in the midst of unspeakable sorrow for Trinity’s family,” said  Holroyd. “To see this support, to see this friendship and this love in the face of a really tragic situation. We are trying to offer that to Trinity’s family and to remember Trinity for the beautiful soul that she was.”

The vigil included flowers, candles, music and the chance to share stories about Poil, both humourous and heartbreaking. Attendees were also invited to sign a transgender flag, offering words of support, love and encouragement.

Often members of the LGBTQ+ community can feel marginalized and alone, and despite strides made over the years, there are still victims of violence and isolation. “I didn’t know Trinity, but Trinity is my kid,” admitted Clarke. “I see these youngsters and I want to wrap my arms around them. But we can’t. We can only do what we are doing here, which is to create a community, create a safe space.”

Poil’s mother Tammy Poil and her stepfather Patrick Reddick elected not to address the crowd. They tearfully placed candles at the foot of a small makeshift memorial, embracing tightly before returning home to their younger children.

Poil was remembered for her beautiful soul.

She lived her life to her own beat, bringing joy and energy to those around her. She could often be seen literally skipping through the school’s corridors or solving puzzles.

“She taught us about compassion and acceptance,” said Tracey Serviss, Poil’s support worker. “The world needs more Trinitys. She had so much to give and so much love. What the world needs are for more people to accept people like Trinity and accept them in your life and get to know them and love them and appreciate them for who they are because I have to say, her differences made such a difference in my life.”
Though not all those who spoke knew her well, they all found themselves inspired by her, and her unapologetic confidence in who she was.

They shared the message that Poil will inspire others, and leave a legacy of acceptance and compassion, helping people be kinder to others.

In memory of Poil, a Celebration of Life will be held at the Pembroke Germania Hall on May 26 at 2 p.m. It is asked that in lieu of flowers, a donation is made to the PFLAG Canada Renfrew County in Trinity Poil’s name or to the Robbie Dean Family Counselling Centre.