With the unanimous approval of council members at the Tuesday, Jan. 11 council meeting, Woodstock Mayor Art Slipp officially proclaimed Feb. 1 as the second annual #BeMoreLikeEvan Day.
The day encourages acts of kindness in memory of 14-year-old Evan Graham, who died in an all-terrain vehicle crash on July 21, 2020. Feb 1, 2022, would have marked Evan's 16th birthday.
The outpouring of grief followed the tragic loss of the active, good-natured teen who lived in the farming community of Hartford in the outskirts of Woodstock. Evan was an enthusiastic 4-H member and a well-known member of the farming community.
Friends and family launched several initiatives in memory of Evan, including the Evan Graham Scholarship Fund for students pursuing agricultural studies and the Be Kind Like Evan Day, promoting acts of kindness.
The proclamation request submitted to the town outlined Evan's interests and goals of the #BeKindLikeEven Day. It reads as follows:
Proclamation – #BeMoreLikeEvan-February 1st, 2022
"WHEREAS Evan Graham of Hartford, New Brunswick, left us in the year 2020, doing what he loved but way too soon. His family initiated a campaign to encourage random acts of kindness to take place annually on his birthday; and
"WHEREAS the first #BeMoreLikeEvan campaign became a community movement, inspiring hundreds of people throughout Greater Woodstock to perform random acts of kindness on behalf of others; and
'WHEREAS Evan passed away at the age of 14 on July 21st,2020; and
"WHEREAS he was a young man who enjoyed the little things in life. He appreciated everything he had and the people who loved him. He was kind, caring and compassionate. He laughed often, dreamed big, worked hard and played harder. He took every opportunity he had to work alongside his dad, who he admired and strived to be more like him.
"WHEREAS Evan was known for his love for agriculture, 4H, wheeling, snowmobiling, the Boston Bruins, lawnmower races, tractor pulling, or anything with a motor. From an early age, he was a true entrepreneur with big dreams.
"WHEREAS Evan's family's wishes for people to continue to perform random acts of kindness in his honour and to share them with the hashtag #BeMoreLikeEvan via their own social media pages; and WHEREAS the #BeMoreLikeEvan campaign continues to inspire others throughout the community to perform random acts of kindness; and
"WHEREAS the 2nd Annual #BeMoreLikeEvan Day of Kindness will take place on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022, Evan's Sweet Sixteen birthday; and
"WHEREAS we hope many adults and children, throughout the community, will perform acts of kindness to honour Evan's family's request, to the community and inspire others to do likewise;
"THEREFORE, I, Arthur Slipp, Mayor of the Town of Woodstock, do hereby recognize February 1 st, 2022 as THE 2ND ANNUAL #BeMoreLikeEvan Day of Kindness in the Town of Woodstock, and I ask all citizens of the Town of Woodstock to consider random acts of kindness in his honour and to encourage others to do the same."
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun