THE RIGHT THING TO DO

By: Melissa Villeneuve

He was a Star Wars fan, loved lego, and built a custom rack for his beloved shoes that hangs on his bedroom wall. A collection of empty Fanta orange pop cans is stacked on his desk, as if waiting for his mom to tell him to tidy up. If you were to walk into Logan Boulet’s bedroom, you might think he was out at a friend’s house or just finishing up hockey practice. It’s part of the legacy to keep his memory alive after the devastating Humboldt Broncos bus accident that took his life, and the lives of 15 others, in April 2018.

Inspired by his friend and mentor Ric “Sluggo” Suggitt who passed away suddenly in 2017, Logan made a selfless decision on his 21st birthday, only five weeks before the accident, to sign an organ donor card. After his passing on April 7, 2018, from injuries sustained in the crash, Logan’s organs were donated to six individuals, giving them a new lease on life. The Logan Boulet Effect was born, as his story has inspired more than 300,000 across Canada to make the same pledge. April 7th was declared Green Shirt Day, a day to encourage organ donation registration.

In the 18 months since the accident, Logan’s legacy has made a ripple around the world, and it’s one his parents, Toby and Bernadine, and countless others will honour forever.

“We have a voice and we have an opportunity to make a difference. So I think that that's a big thing, too, is to try and make a difference,” says Bernadine. “It would be a waste to not to be that voice,” agreed Toby. “It'd be a complete waste of Logan's legacy. We're not trying to make Logan bigger than he is. Logan has always been Logan... We're just doing what we think is the right thing to do.”

There isn’t a spare wall in the Boulet home that doesn’t showcase memories of a life well-lived. There are family portraits with beaming smiles, and a pumpkin painting made by Logan when he was a youngster. Mariko, Logan’s older sister, is overseas working on her Masters in Occupational Therapy. Toby and Bernadine have opened their doors to share a bit about their life after tragedy. It’s not easy to be in the spotlight when you’ve lost someone you love, and they would give anything to have Logan back. It might be easier to close their doors and shut out the world. But they have chosen to amplify Logan’s message to always do the right thing and to give back to the community that has embraced them during this difficult time.

“Right now, we’re finding people to be incredibly generous. And they want to help in any way they can. And we appreciate that and we accept any help for anything that we're doing,” says Toby. “And in between all that we also, we work on finding ways to donate not just time but donate money... We're gonna slowly and surely make sure that we basically donate what was given to us. That's our plan.”

Along with Green Shirt Day, other initiatives have gathered traction over the past 18 months. Toby says he never expected the Logan Boulet Fund with Kidsport Lethbridge/Taber to take off as quickly as it did. Logan played his entire minor hockey career in Lethbridge. He was part of the Winston Churchill rugby team, and also participated in badminton, soccer, and curling. Being so active in sport, Logan and his family also knew that not every athlete had the financial resources to play. Today the fund is sitting at over $112,000, and the proceeds will help low-income families put their children into sports. It’s something Logan would be proud of, says Toby.

And this past June, the Boulet family established the Logan Boulet Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta. Grants from the Logan Boulet Endowment Fund will be directed by the Boulet family to support causes that were important to Logan, such as organ donation, youth participation in sport, and the Special Olympics.

“He didn’t have a lot of extra time because sport took up a lot of his time,” says Bernadine. But the extra time he did have, he was always willing to lend a hand to someone else.

Logan helped out in many areas, not just sport, according to his parents. He coached hockey teams and helped run camps, but also assisted with various school and community activities. Friends and co-workers knew they could always count on Logan. “If you want something done, it's like boom. He’d just be the first one to say let's go,” says Toby.

And he understood that giving time is just as important as giving money to many organizations. It’s a pattern learned from his family that goes back for generations. “We’ve coached sports, managed sports, been involved in recreational activities and non-recreational activities, and helped out and rolled up our sleeves since day one. My mom and dad did it. Bernie’s mom and dad did it,” says Toby. “Growing up, our kids have seen it. They know how much work it takes.”

Above all, Logan was a mentor to many young hockey players who looked up to him and learned from his example. He would always take time to go watch his billet brothers’ hockey games or practices in Humboldt. “Logan was wiser than his years,” says Toby.

At the Friends of Logan Boulet Golf Tournament in June, volunteers wore a t-shirt with the slogan Happy to Help, which sums up Logan’s giving nature and outlook on life. Proceeds from the tournament were split between KidSport, the Saskatchewan and Southern Alberta Kidney Foundation for organ transplant research, the Lethbridge Minor Hockey Midget AAA Dressing Room Project, and the Humboldt Special Olympics adult floor hockey team.

Logan played hockey in Humboldt for almost three full seasons, said Bernadine. While he was there, the Broncos would work with a Special Olympics adult floor hockey team, an organization especially important to Logan. After the golf tournament, Toby called to tell them what they had raised. He learned the team had won their chance to play Nationals in Thunder Bay next February, but they needed $10,000 to go. “They're trying to figure out, okay, where do we go next? Who do we ask (for donations)? And Toby contacted them as they were having their meeting to say we had $10,000 plus dollars to give to them,” says Bernadine. “They weren't asking for it. It just happened to be at the right time.”

For all of the families affected, the legacy of their loved ones will be forever remembered and honoured by their hometown. Locally, Lethbridge Minor Hockey has created a hockey wall of honour, which includes Logan Boulet, at the Nicholas Sheran Arena, and the second annual Logan Boulet Memorial U15 hockey tournament was held in October. The Midget AA Hockey Hounds annual scholarship has been renamed the Logan Boulet Scholarship.

And on a chilly Saturday, October 26, dozens of friends and supporters showed up for the official renaming of the Logan Boulet Arena, formerly the Adams Park Ice Centre. Members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey family were there as well, all paying homage to Logan’s mantra of “Work Hard - Play Hard - Have Fun.” It is the arena Logan first played “little kids hockey,” said Toby.

There is also a new Logan Boulet display case that will live at the arena permanently. It’s filled with memorabilia – awards, letters, artwork, photos, and Logan’s #27 Humboldt Broncos jersey. Logan’s legacy will continue to inspire all who use the arena.

“Logan really worked hard all the time to make things better for other people, and to try and make people be included,” said Bernadine, during the event. “We’re very thankful that people have recognized that and that people have taken what he did to be an inspiration to become registered organ donors themselves. We’re thankful that the City of Lethbridge and minor hockey have recognized what he did and have honoured him in so many ways. So thank you.”

Logan wanted to be a teacher, following in his parents’ footsteps. “Because it would give him the best chance to coach and give back to hockey,” explained Toby. There’s no doubt that he would have achieved that goal, given how Logan chose to live his life.

Logan’s decision made a difference and the community has rallied around the family to make Logan’s legacy bigger. The Logan Boulet Effect has spread farther and helped more people than anyone could have imagined. But the legacy began with a family who raised their children to do the right thing, to roll up their sleeves and help others in a time of need, and to always give back to their community. It’s a life we should all aspire to live.

 
Logan Boulet in his team jersey showcasing his dazzling smile.JPG
Toby and Bernadine Boulet.JPG
Bernadine Boulet gets ready to drop the puck with her husband Toby, Mayor Chris Spearman, and Counci
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