Gina Goulet was always up for trying something new.
“She just had such a zest for life,” Goulet’s longtime friend Jodi McMullen said. “She would go into a room … and come out of that with friends.
“She was so brave to do anything, and she was so independent.”
The 54-year-old mother from Shubenacadie, N.S., was one of at least 22 people killed over the weekend during a shooting in several rural Nova Scotia communities.
McMullen says she learned of Goulet’s death through one of their mutual friends.
“When my friend told me, I didn’t believe it,” she said. “It’s just too shocking.”
When she turned on the news and looked closer, McMullen noticed Goulet’s car at the Enfield Big Stop, the same place where the shooter was killed by police.
“When I saw her car there, I was just devastated because I knew that it was true,” said McMullen.
‘A big, full life’
Goulet had a passion for travelling, recreational fishing and learning new skills.
McMullen says that was on full display while on a trip to Cuba a few years back, where they ended up taking Spanish lessons.
“When we came home from that trip, she actually joined a class,” said McMullen. “She began taking Spanish lessons and has ever since.
“Then she joined salsa dancing. I remember last summer, she would go in to the waterfront in Halifax, and they would have these big salsa dances right on the water, and she would go. She would take part in it. She just loved it.”
Gina Goulet also cherished her two dogs.
Her German shepherd, Ginger, was shot twice during the attack — once through the face and once through the back. Ginger was taken to an animal hospital in Dartmouth and is expected to make a full recovery.
“The Dartmouth veterinary clinic did everything, no charge, which is amazing,” said McMullen.
The animals are now with Goulet’s daughter.
Goulet was also a brain cancer survivor. She was first diagnosed four years ago and then again last year. Goulet had almost recovered from the second bout of cancer when she was killed.
Goulet worked as a denturist for 27 years. The shooter was also a denturist. McMullen believes they would have known each other professionally, saying Goulet potentially referred some clients to the suspect in the past.
“I don’t know of any personal connection,” McMullen said. “If there was a personal connection, it was never a big enough connection for her to mention him to me.”
McMullen wants to make sure Goulet and all others who died aren’t remembered just as victims.
“I think it’s important to know that these people were victims with very full lives and had a lot of people that loved them,” said McMullen. “I want people to know that Gina was a wonderful person.
“She had such a big, full life, and I want people to remember her for all of that.”
— With files from Global News’ Alyse Hand