October 3, 2013 8:01 pm

Parents of Stony Plain doorman who intervened in fight ‘overwhelmed’ by support

EDMONTON – The family of Travis Colby, the doorman at Old Bar in Stony Plain who passed away after trying to break up a fight, describes the 30-year-old as a “good kid” with “a heart of gold.”

Colby was knocked unconscious after being hit in the head while intervening to stop a fight outside the bar early Saturday morning.

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“He was outside on a break, and a fight came up,” says Shirley Colby, Travis’ mother. “He went to pull the fight apart, and this person involved came up behind him and sucker punched him to the side of the head. He went unconscious, fell down, and that was pretty much it.”

Stony Plain RCMP say he was taken to hospital but did not regain consciousness. Late Wednesday afternoon, they confirmed he had passed away.

Thursday evening, 19-year-old Sean Steven Kovacs-Harkins, of Spruce Grove, was charged with manslaughter.

“He had a bleed in his head they thought would be fine,” Shirley recalls, “but Saturday night, his head swelled so badly, it caused him to have a heart attack… They did revive him and bring him back, but after that, there was no way of recuperating from all of that. His body couldn’t handle the change.”

Both parents were at the hospital at Travis’ bedside.

“They did a bunch of tests, but they said that… they pronounced him clinically brain dead at 9:30 the other morning.”

The 30-year-old was a father of two young daughters.

“The girls were the love of his life,” Shirley says with a smile. “He had two little girls; three-years-old and 18 months.”

Both his parents say Travis was a great father.

“The best,” shares Shirley. “He was so proud of his girls.”

When asked about the kind of person Travis was, his mother describes him as “a giver.”

“Travis was his own unique little person. He helped everybody, protected everybody, heart of gold, and the biggest smile that you’ve ever seen,” she recalls, her voice breaking with emotion.

“He would give his last $20 if he needed to, he’d let everybody else eat before he did. He was not a selfish person, he was a giver.”

That generous quality continues even in his death.  Travis’ organs are being donated.

“Travis always helped everybody,” says Shirley. “As of this morning, he has helped three people continue with their lives… So, that’s pretty cool. His needing to help people is continued beyond where he is.”

The family shares they’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from family, friends, and even complete strangers.

“Facebook – there’s just thousands and thousands of hits on there: ‘how he helped me out,’ ‘how he took care of us.’ It’s overwhelming, it’s unbelievable.”

“We did not know that it was this many people that he’s touched.”

A co-worker at the Old Bar who did not want to be named told Global News that Travis had a heart of gold, and was a great employee; never missing a shift.  He worked at the bar for three years, she says.

A public memorial is being planned for Monday, October 7 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pavillion in Stony Plain.

An autopsy was conducted Thursday morning, and that evening, RCMP charged Kovacs-Harkins with manslaughter.

“Initially, what we were looking at is something like assault causing bodily harm,” explains Cpl. Colette Zazulak, with Stony Plain/Spruce Grove RCMP.  “Aggravated assault is something more wounding … manslaughter is where they do pass away but you don’t have any intent with it.”

The 19-year-old was in RCMP custody after the altercation on Saturday, was released on Sunday morning, but was arrested again on Thursday.

Meantime, the Colby family hopes something can be learned from this terrible loss.

“Think before you react,” offers Travis’ father. “A lot of these young kids … they don’t realize the consequences of their reactions.”

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