As the anniversary of the tragic accident which took her life approaches, the family of Chelsea Lewis are honouring her memory with a bursary for women enrolling in trades at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).
Chelsea died on Aug. 7, 2022 in an ATV accident just outside Williams Lake. She was just a few weeks away from her 18th birthday, and had been enrolled at UBC Okanagan to begin a business degree in the fall.
They said her true passion was working with equipment, which she had done from a young age with her dad Mike Lewis, excelling at operating equipment and doing mechanical repairs. At the Heavy Metal Rocks event offered to high school students each year to try out different equipment, Chelsea won the award for best operator.
Chelsea grew up working on vehicles with her dad as well.
She helped out the senior members of the family by repairing their vehicles and had modified her beloved GMC Jimmy, which was nicknamed “Cricket.”
While the family continues to grapple with losing Chelsea, they have been searching for ways to honour the young woman, and ways all the community who have reached out and want to help could potentially honour her as well.
“It’s a pretty tough reality at this point,” said Barb Jones, Mike’s partner.
In June, Mike and Barb invited friends and family out on a memorial ATV ride in Chelsea’s honour as well, spending the weekend riding sections of the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail, camping out in Horsefly over the weekend. They gave away travel mugs they had made with a picture of Chelsea’s beloved Jimmy on it which read “Ride for Chelsea 2023” and asked participants who wanted to help to donate towards the bursary in her honour.
They said they hope to make the ride an annual event.
The bursary will be open to women from Williams Lake who enrol in the trades at TRU in Williams Lake or Kamloops.
The amount and frequency of the bursary will depend on the amount of donations they receive, but they hope to be able to support other young women in the community to go on to pursue their passion for the trades.
To contribute to the bursary in Chelsea’s honour, go to: https://www.tru.ca/giving/ways-to-give.html open up the Ways to Give drop-down on the top and click on Memorial Gifts. Then click on TRU Williams Lake – Women in Trades Award – In Memory of Chelsea Lewis.