Leave no one behind: Funeral home transports deceased Fort McMurray man

World Today

The Canada wildfire forced residents of Fort McMurray to make a split-second decisions on what to leave behind. But for one family dealing with the death of a loved one, the rush to relocate was anguishing – until a funeral home stepped in to help.

CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reports.

Leave no one behind: Funeral home transports deceased Fort McMurray man

Leave no one behind: Funeral home transports deceased Fort McMurray man

The Canada wildfire forced residents of Fort McMurray to make a split-second decisions on what to leave behind. But for one family dealing with the death of a loved one, the rush to relocate was anguishing – until a funeral home stepped in to help. CCTV America's Jim Spellman reports.

Residents of Fort McMurray were forced to evacuate in a hurry as the raging wildfire approached the city. But funeral directors Andrew Montgomery and Marlene Sampson knew they had to find a way to transport what could be considered their precious cargo.

Richard Golosky, a lifelong resident of Fort McMurray, passed away shortly before the fire. His family was evacuated before services could be held.

So a plan was hatched to transport Mr. Golosky’s body to Edmonton along with the cremated remains of several others.

“We had been entrusted to a family member that really couldn’t speak for themselves and that’s our job and that’s what we do,” funeral director Andrew Montgomery said.

Normally a deceased body is transported in a hearse, but that didn’t seem to be the right choice for this particular journey.

Seeking a more discrete vehicle for the long trip to Edmonton, Mr. Golosky was transported in a van designed to carry a stretcher.

So with Andrew Montgomery at the wheel and Richard Golosky on a stretcher in back, they made the long journey to Edmonton just hours before the fire tore through Fort McMurray.

Leaving Golosky behind was never an option.

“Not for one moment. Not for one second, that was my priority,” funeral director
Marlene Sampson said. “I have compassion to spare.”

Once in Edmonton, the deceased man was reunited with his family.

It could be weeks before residents can return to Fort McMurray, so the evacuated family gathered to remember Richard Golosky at a funeral home in Edmonton.

“He was a hunter and a trapper and he was very proud of that,” his daughter, Destiny Golosky, said. “He taught myself and my brother how to live off the land.”

Golosky will be cremated and his remains returned to the place he called home.

“I’m sure he’s up there smiling, laughing at us with a big grin on his face for sure,” Destiny said. “He’s getting a lot of attention.”