To say Dale Hird’s life has been turned upside down in the past two-and-a-half years would be an understatement. In November 2013, Hird’s son, Lukas Strasser-Hird, was murdered.
The 18-year-old was swarmed outside of a Calgary nightclub—kicked, beaten, and stabbed.
Now, just days away from the eight-week jury trial for five people accused in the homicide, Hird is barely hanging on.
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“This is not something that will ever go away, [that I’ll] ever heal from,” Hird said. “You learn to live a life you didn’t ask for.”
One of the accused is missing and a warrant is out for his arrest.
To make matters worse, Hird has just been laid off, and doesn’t know how he’ll pay his bills through the trial.
“It’s tough, I know it’s tough for everybody, but this has just been a crushing blow,” Hird said.
Then Tuesday morning, another father who’s lived through the same emotional and financial trauma of losing a child to homicide stepped in to help.
Brian Woodhouse’s daughter, Meika Jordan, was murdered in November 2011. He knows all too well the struggles Hird is facing. His family survived a six-week trial last year.
“Vacation time was used up immediately. That covered about the first ten days. It wasn’t long after that before the savings were depleted and the credit cards started getting maxed out. Near the end, I defaulted on a personal loan and even lost our home,” Woodhouse said.
When Woodhouse needed it, people rallied around his family, and now he’s started a GoFundMe page for Hird.
“Maybe it’s a little bit of karma, a little bit of paying it forward,” Woodhouse said. “I feel it’s something I’m able to do and if I’m able, I should.”
The two fathers are forever joined by a horrible common bond, but through it all, are showing the true spirit of Calgary.
“It’s incredible. I don’t know how to thank him,” Hird said. “It makes me feel really humble, and really feel like there are people out there that really care in times of need like this.”