The widow of an Alberta man is keeping his memory alive through an animal welfare charity.
One year after losing the love of her life, Carmelita Hallett says the pain is still raw.
“The past year has been so difficult living without him,” Hallett said from her Calgary home.
Hallett channels her grief into carrying on her husband’s legacy, the Jumpy Animal Welfare Foundation. The organization’s website says it is “dedicated to improving and enhancing the health and well-being of animals, with a focus on rabbits.”
The foundation was started in February 2023, four months after Brent Hallett was senselessly stabbed to death in Las Vegas.
“Every day I think about what I do with Jumpy and it’s all for him,” Hallett said.
The couple in 2021 took an extended break to see different parts of the world, and search for a warm place to eventually retire.
After stints in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, the couple headed to one of their favourite places on the planet, Las Vegas. They had been married there 23 years earlier and visited frequently.
They rented a condo and stayed a few months, and had already purchased airline tickets back to Calgary for later in October.
Days before their scheduled departure, on Oct. 6, 2022, they ate breakfast and then went for a walk along the famous Las Vegas Strip.
Without warning, Brent was killed. He was among eight people who were attacked in a stabbing spree. Six people were injured. Hallett and a 30-year-old woman died.
Hallett’s widow vowed she would not focus on how Brent died, instead channelling her energy into a fitting tribute to how Brent Hallett lived.
“It came to me actually really quickly after everything happened,” Hallett told Global News. “I just knew I needed to do something for Brent.”
“The rabbits started because he was allergic to cats and dogs and so as a child, his family had a pet rabbit. “ Hallett said.
Hallett said shortly after meeting Brent, she too fell in love with bunnies. “When we met, I never really thought of them as companion animals or anything like that. It was really amazing to see how social they are. “
Jumpy is now a registered charity with a board of directors. As Hallett marked one year since losing her soulmate, the foundation was able to accomplish its first goal. Jumpy provided a $5,000 grant to Calgary rescue group, AARCS.
The money will be used to help cover veterinary bills for bunnies in AARCS care, including the cost of spay and neuter surgery.
Hallett said it’s the first of what she hopes are many more endowments to come.