Messages of condolence and support are pouring in for the B.C. man killed in Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash that claimed 157 lives, including 18 Canadians.
Micah John Messent of Courtenay worked as an Indigenous relations analyst with BC Parks.
Messent was travelling to Kenya where he was to be a delegate with the United Nations Association in Canada (UNCA) for the 4th United Nations Assembly of the Environment.
“I’ll have the chance to meet with other passionate youth and leaders from around the world and explore how we can tackle the biggest challenges that are facing our generation,” Messent posted to Facebook on Friday.
Laurie Meijer Drees, chair of the Indigenous Studies Department at Vancouver Island University, from which Messent earned a B.A., called his death “devastating.”
“He was also very inclusive. With the students who were in our classes he always showing leadership around getting people together, making sure everyone felt happy in the room. His enthusiasm and his creativity and his positive energy were really a hallmark of who he was.”
Drees said one of her most prominent memories about Messent was his approach to Indigenous issues.
“One of the things he brought is a creative attitude towards this business of reconciliation. As a proud Métis person he didn’t want to focus on racism and negativity and critique that is often part of those conversations. He wanted to demonstrate goodwill and happy cross-cultural interaction.”
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Messent, who graduated from Courtenay’s GP Vanier Secondary School in 2013, is also remembered as an avid sailor who had plans to study law one day.
On Monday, B.C. Premier John Horgan issued a statement saying he was “deeply saddened to learn of the death of BC Parks employee and recent Indigenous youth intern Micah Messent.”
“Micah was committed to tackling the challenges he saw around him in the world, both in his work to protect the environment and to advance reconciliation.”
Ocean Wise, where Messent worked as a part of its Ocean Bridge program, also offered “heartfelt condolences” to his family and friends, and said peers would be offered counselling and support.
Messent’s Facebook page has also been flooded with hundreds of messages of love and support.
“Rest easy brother, you truly are one of the kindest souls I’ve had the pleasure of knowing,” posted one friend.
“A beautiful, shining star dimmed much, much, much to soon. Our lives will never be the same without your light,” added another.
“Your love of nature, your boundless energy, and your kindness are lessons I’ll keep with me my friend. Thank you for all of your work in the world. I’ll miss your laugh,” added a third.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing.